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The Sphere of Marcus Manilius-FRONTISPICE

The sphere of Marcus Manilius made an English poem with annotations and an astronomical appendix by Sir Edward Sherburne (London : Printed for Nathanael Brooke, 1675)

This folio volume contains the first book of Marcus Manilius’ Astronomicon, which is thought to be the oldest treatise on astrology, and a lengthy appendix by Sherburne.

The full version of the Astronomicon contains five books, the first on astronomy, and the remainder on astrology. The first book includes information on the constellations, planets, celestial circles and comets.

The sphere of Marcus Manilius contains a number of engraved illustrations, the most impressive being the frontispiece. This shows Pan on the left and Mercury (or Hermes) on the right with Urania, the muse of astronomy, floating above gazing at the heavens through a telescope. Pan is shown, somewhat unusually with wings, representing nature. Mercury (usually depicted with wings owing to his role as messenger) stands on a plinth inscribed ‘university of interpretation’ providing a connection between nature (Pan) and the celestial (Urania).