Astrological treatises

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Accession number: 
MS M.785
Astrological treatises
Bruges, Belgium, early 15th century, in or before 1403.
20th-century blue half-leather by Marguerite Duprez Lahey.
Purchased in 1935.
52 leaves (2 columns, 45 lines), bound : vellum, ill. ; 254 x 175 mm
Presented to Jean de France, duc de Berry, on June 7, 1403 by Lubertus Hautschild, Abbot of S. Barthélemi of the Augustinian Abbey of Eeckhout at Bruges; this manuscript is mentioned in two inventories of the duke (partially erased inscription on last leaf, fol. 51v: ce livre est au duc duc de Berry JEHAN); Baron de Joursanvault (1748-1793), arms and ex-libris on added 18th-century title page and inscription "Le baron de Joursanvault, 1790" on fol. 51v; collections dispersed by his son in 1838; Henri Bandot of Dijon; M. Court of Dijon (1907); purchased from Jacques Rosenthal, l'Art Ancien, Zurich, in Jan. 1935.

Ms. astrological treatises by Abū Maʻshar (also transliterated as Albumazar or Albumasar; b. Aug. 10, 787; d. 28 Ramaḍān 272/8-3-886); written and illuminated in Bruges, Belgium, in or before 1403.
There are five extant manuscripts of the text of Morgan 785, an extensively illustrated and abridged Latin translation of the Arabic "Introduction to Astrology" of Abu Ma'shar (787-886) by Georgius Zothorus Zaparus Fendulus, whose name is given in the introduction (fol. 1r). The earliest copy of the Fendulus text is Paris, Bibliothèque nationale MS Lat. 7330, ca. 1240. The direct prototype for M. 785 is a Franco-Flemish manuscript, ca. 1350, British Museum Sloan MS 3983. Although Fendulus states that he translated Abu Ma'shar's text from the original Persian, Abu Ma'shar wrote in Arabic, suggesting that Fendulus was working from Herman the Dalmatian's earlier Latin translation, rather than from the original source. All five copies of Fendulus's text share the same format and structure, and date from ca. 1220-1240 through 1500. For each zodiac sign there is a page of text, an illustration of the sign, and three folios of three registers each, illustrating the decans for each sign. Following the zodiac signs are seven planets, shown in their houses and counter-houses, and in exaltation and dejection.
Decoration: 76 pages of miniatures with zodiacal and astrological images.
Revised: 2015