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vno modo super orbes, &c. Item aliter vero motus est quimouet orbem stellarum currencium contra motum primum, videlicet, ab Occidente in Orientum super alios duos polos".' That is, the two chief motions are that of the primum mobile, which carries everything round from East to West, and that of the fixed stars, which is a slow motion from West to East round the axis of the zodiac, to account for precession. This exactly explains the well-known passage in the Frankeleines Tale (C. T., F 1280):—
‘And by his eighte spere in his werking,
Here the eight spheres are the eight inner spheres which revolve round the axis of the zodiac in an easterly direction, whilst the ninth sphere, or primum mobile, contained both the theoretical or /ixed first point of Aries from which measurements were made, and also the signs of the zodiac as distinct from the constellations. But Alnath, being an actual star, viz, a Arietis", was in the eighth sphere; and the distance between its position and that of the first point of Aries at any time afforded a measure of the amount of precession. Mr. Brae rightly remarks that Tyrwhitt's readings in this passage are correct (except that eighte speres should be eightespere), and those of Mr. Wright and Dr. Morris (from the Harleian MS.) are incorrect. It may be as well to add that a later refinement was to insert a crystalline sphere, to account for the precession; so that the order stood thus: seven spheres of planets; the eighth, of fixed stars; the ninth, or crystalline; the tenth, or primum mobile; and, beyond these, an empyraean or theological heaven, so to speak, due to no astronomical wants, but used to express the place of residence of celestial beings". Hence the passage in Milton, P. L. iii. 481 :— “They pass the planets seven, and pass the fix’d, And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs The trepidation talk'd, and that first mov’d.’
i.e. They pass the seven planetary spheres; then the sphere of fixed stars; then the crystalline or transparent one, whose swaying motion
* This is doubtless quoted from some gloss upon Ptolemy, not from the work itself. The reference is right, for the ‘motus celi’ are discussed in the Almagest, lib. i. c. 8.
* This star (a Arietis) was on the supposed horn of the Ram, and hence its name; since El-nātih signifies “the butter,’ and “El-nath’ is “butting’ or ‘pushing.’ See Ideler, Die Bedeutung der Sternnamen, p. 135.
* Well expressed by Dante, Parad. xxx. 38–
“Noi semo usciti fuore
Dante, like Chaucer, makes the eighth sphere that of fixed stars, and the ninth the primum mobile or swiftest heaven (ciel velocissimo); Parad. xxvii. 99.
or libration measures the amount of the precession and nutation so often talked of; and then, the sphere of the primum mobile itself. But Milton clearly himself believed in the Copernican system ; see Paradise Lost, viii. 121-140, where the primum mobile is described in
the lines— ‘that swift
Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed,
§ 18, 8. compowned by 2 & 2. This means that in the test astrolabes, every almicantarath for every degree of latitude was marked ; as may be seen in Metius. In others, including the one given by Chaucer to his son, they were marked only for every other degree. See Part II. sect. 5, l. 2. § 19. 7. cenith, as here used, has a totally different meaning from that of semith, in l. 1 above. The semith in l. 1 is what we still call the zenith ; but the cenith in 1.7 means the point of the horizon denoting the sun's place in azimuth. Contrary to what one might expect, the latter is the true original meaning, as the word genith is corrupted from the root of the word which we now spell azimuth. The Arabic as-sant is a way or path ; al-samt, a point of the horizon, and, secondly, an azimuthal circle. The plural of a/-samt is assumiłł, whence azimuth. But zenith is a corruption of semif, from samt al-rds, the Arabic name of the vertex of heaven (ras meaning a head); and the qualifying al-rūs, the most important part of the phrase, has been improperly dropped. So far from the reading cenith being wrong here, it is most entirely right, and may be found (better spelt cenit) in the same sense in Messahala. See p. 213, second footnote. For cenith, some late copies have signet, evidently taken from the Latin word signum. They make the same mistake even in l. 12 of section 18. § 21. 4. sterres sires, fixed stars; here the s again appears in a plural adjective of French derivation; see note above, to $ 5.8. In MSS. Ii. 3. 3 and Ii. 1. 13 in the Cambridge University Library, is an interesting list of the 49 stars most usually placed upon the Astrolabe. The stars which are represented by the points of the tongues in Fig. 2 are the same as those in the diagram from which Fig. 2 is copied, the original of which is in MS. A. I have slightly altered the positions of the points of the tongues, to make them somewhat more correct. The following is the list of the stars there shewn ; most of their names are written in the MS. Cf. footnote on p. 186. Within the Zodiac. In Aries, Mirach, or 8 Andromedae, shewn by a short tongue above Aries; in Taurus, Algol, or 8 Persei, as marked ; in Libra, Aliot or Alioth, i.e. e Ursae Majoris (the third horse, next the cart, in Charles's Wain), as marked ; also Alramech, Arcturus, or a Boötis, shewn by the tongue projecting above Libra; in Scorpio, Alpheta, Alphecca, or a Coronae Borealis, as marked; in Sagittarius, Raz Alhagus, or a Ophiuchi, near Alpheta; in Capricornus, Altair or a Aquilae and Vega or a Lyrae, as marked, whilst near Vega is the unmarked Arided, or a Cygni ; and in Pisces, Markab or a Pegasi. Without the Zodiac. In Aries, under Oriens, the slight projection marks 8 Ceti or Deneb Kaitos, the Whale's Tail, and the next curiously shaped projection (with side-tongues probably referring to other stars) means Batnkaitos, the Whale's Belly, apparently & Ceti; next come the long tongue for Menkar or a Ceti, the Whale's Nose ; the star Aldebaran or Bull's Eye, a Tauri; Rigel or 8 Orionis, Orion's Foot ; Alhabor or Sirius, the Dog-star, marked by a rude drawing of a dog's head, the star itself being at the tip of his tongue; then Algomeisa, Procyon, or a Canis Minoris, marked by a tongue pointing to the left, whilst the long broad tongue pointing upwards is Regulus, Kalbalased, or a Leonis; the small tongue above the letter I in the border is Alphard or Cor Hydrae. Above Occidens, in Libra, the first tongue is Algorab or 8 Corvi, and the next Spica Virginis or Azimech; close to the 8th degree of Scorpio is a Librae, and close to the beginning of Sagittarius is a small head, denoting the Scorpion, at the tip of the tongue of which is the bright Kalbalacrab or Antares. The last, a projection below the letter X, is Deneb Algebi or the Goat's Tail, i.e. 8 Capricorni. 7. That is, the little point at the end of each tongue of metal is technically called the “centre’ of the star, and denotes its exact position. 9. The stars of the North are those to the North of the zodiac, not of the equator. 12. Aldeberan, &c.; the stars Aldebaran (a Tauri) and Algomeisa (a Canis Minoris) are called stars of the south, because they are to the south of the ecliptic; but as they are meanwhile (see Fig. 2) also to the north of the equator, they of course rise to the N. of the Eastern point of the horizon. The longitude of stars was always measured along the ecliptic, which is denoted in Fig. 2 by the outermost circle of the metal ring on which the names of the signs are Written. In one of the tracts in MS. G (dated A. D. 1486), p. 30, we find ‘Aldebaran, in the first gre of geminis (sic), of the nature of Mars and Venus’; and “Algomeisa, canis minor, in the xvijgre of Cancer, of the nature of Mars and Mercury.’ 29. Amiddes, &c. Observe that the Ecliptic line in the midst of the celestial zodiac, a belt 12° broad, is on the outer edge of the zodiac as shewn in the astrolabe, which is only 6” broad and shews only the northern half of that belt. The ‘way of the sun” is elsewhere used of the sun's apparent diurnal path (see Part ii. sect. 30); but it here refers, as is more usual, to the annual path. 34. streitnes, narrowness, closeness, smallness of size. In Fig. 2, I have marked every degree in the southern half of the zodiac, but only every fifth degree in the northern, in order to avoid an appearance of
crowding in so small a figure. In Chaucer's own Astrolabe, every other
* Here follows a table, shewing that, in Aries, the value of Saturn is 5, of Jupiter 5, &c.; with the values of the planets in all the other signs. The value 5, of Saturn, is obtained by adding a triplicite (value 3) to a terme (value 2), these being the “witnesses' of Saturne in Aries; and so on throughout.
“The dygnytes of planetis in the signes, most speciall they be to be noted in iudicials. When the mone is in Ariete, it is not gode, but vtterly to be exshewed, both for seke And disesid, for to shafe theire hede or to boist in the eris or in the nek; nor loke pou let no blode in the vayn of the hede. How-be-it, benyficiall it is to begynne euery worke that pou woldest bryng aboute sone. But that thynge that is stabill ought to be eschewed. In this signe it is necessary to dele with noble estatis And rich men, And for to go in-to A bayne [bath]'.’— Same MS., Tract C. p. 14.
54, 5. See Prologue, 1.73. As the zodiak is here called a part of the eighth sphere, so we have been before told that the equinoctial is the girdle of the ninth sphere; see note above to sect. 17. l. 28.
57. evene parties, equal parts. That is, the equinoctial bisects the zodiac. But the northern half looks much smaller than the southern on the Astrolabe, owing to the manner in which the zodiac is there represented, viz. by projection on the plane of the equator.
PART II. § 1. Rubric. hir cours. The gender of the sun was feminine in Anglo-Saxon, and that of the moon masculine; but in Chaucer's time, the gender was very variable, owing to the influence of Latin and French. § 3. Between sections 2 and 3, a section is inserted in the late copies, which merely repeats section I, and is clearly spurious. It does not appear at all in the best MSS. ; though it is found in the black-letter editions. I quote it here from MS. L. “To knowe the degre of thyn sonne in thyn zodiak by the days in the baksyde off the Astrolabye. “[T]hanne iff pou wylte wete thatt / rekyn & knowe / qwych is the day off the monyth thatt thow arte ynne, & ley thy rewle of thy astrolabye, that is to sey, the allydatha, vpon pe day in the kalendre off the Astrolabye, & he schall schewe the thy degree of the sonne.’ 26, 7. After ‘assendent, the following additional paragraph occurs in MS. Bodley 619; fol. 21. It is worthy of notice, because the original of it appears in Messahala's treatise, with the title ‘De noticia stellarum incognitarum positarum in astrolabio.' The paragraph runs thus :- “Nota, Pat by pis conclusioun pou may knowe also where ben at bat same tyme alle opir sterres fixed pat ben sette in thin Astrelabie, and
* So on p. 12 of another tract (D) in the same MS., we find—
‘Aries calidum & sucum; bonum.
Each of the signs is described in similar triplets, from the grammar of which I conclude that Aries is here put for in Ariete, in the first hexameter.