Hello, all my lovely followers! Long time no see! Sorry for the prolonged lack of original posts, but I’ve been crazy busy at my new job as Library Technician at Smithsonian Libraries (@smithsonianlibraries)! I’m working primarily at the Cullman Library in the Natural History Museum, which houses the Smithsonian’s special collections relating to natural history, although I’ve also spent some time at the Dibner Library, which is home to special collections relating to the physical sciences.

Although I’ve only been there for two months, I’ve had the opportunity to do and see some amazing things! From a shelving unit for miniature books to a well-loved 13th century Armenian manuscript (MSS 1675B), the Libraries are truly full of wonders great and small. One of my favorites is the volvelle, or rotating calculator, found in a 16th century alchemical manuscript (MSS 867B)– I just love it when books are interactive! Expect more from that one in the future.

Written in the 16th century by Peter Apian (1495-1552), Cosmographia provided instruction in astronomy, geography, cartography, navigation, and instrument-making and was based on the writings of Ptolemy. 

The most surprising feature of the book, given the time as which it was created, is the use of three-dimension, interactive additions to the text that are offered for the reader to use as reference, referred to as volvelle, or the Apian wheel. Star charts like these consist of multiple layers of cut and shaped paper fastened together with string, that can be rotated to find information about stars at different times.  

There is also an exquisitely drawn fold-out map of the various winds, depicted as Gods.

It’s no surprise that this book remained in use for hundreds of years, and continues to be used even today. At Special Collections, you can find the 1553 edition.

-Written by Katharine Pigliacelli, graduate student employee

Apian, Peter. Cosmographia. Antverpiae: Ex officina Arnoldi Coninx, 1584.

Robert Fludd - Zodiac Man, “Utriusque Cosmi Maioris Scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica”, 1617.

The Zodiac Man dates all the way back to the Middle Ages and the body was seen to be divided up into regions just as the Earth was. The belief back then was that man was known as “a Little World”, the term they used to refer to this was ‘Microgasm’, which is known to originate with the ancient Babylonians.

The Zodiac Man was used in mainly in medicine by working alongside the Moon. Wherever the Moon and Stars are aligned with a certain Astrological Sign they correlated with a body part, bodily system, or the four Humors. The four Humors separate the body into four parts just as there are four Elements. The four Humors of the human body are Yellow Bile, Black Bile, Phlegm and Blood, it was believed that these all needed to be in balance in order to keep up with your Health. These Humors were used directly to treat illness alongside the Zodiac Man and were also used to explain and simplify concepts to patients.

Europe was, at the time, required by law to calculate the Moon’s positioning before taking action on a patient or any kind of medical procedure. If the Moon was not in its correct positioning, nothing was able to be performed because it was deemed unsafe. They used a Volvelle, a rotating Calendar, to calculate the Moon’s position as well as multiple Almanacs which described different Phases of the Moon. Most of the ways that illnesses were determined and diagnosed was through the four Humors, especially through Blood and Yellow Bile, better known as Urine. This was one of the main ways people were diagnosed. Many pictures of the Zodiac Man solely depict the main body parts correlating with the Astrological Signs, but others go more in depth to then match the signs with internal bodily systems.

The Zodiac Man externally and internally:
Aries - Head, eyes, adrenals, blood pressure
Taurus - Neck, throat, shoulders, ears
Gemini - Lungs, nerves, arms, shoulders, fingers
Cancer - Chest wall, breasts, some body fluids
Leo - Heart, spine, upper back, spleen
Virgo - Abdomen, intestines, gallbladder, pancreas, liver
Libra - Lower back, buttocks, hips, kidneys, endocrines
Scorpio - Reproductive organs, pelvis, urinary bladder, rectum
Sagittarius - Thighs, legs
Capricorn - Knees, bones, skin
Aquarius - Ankles, blood vessels
Pisces - Feet, some body fluids

Treasure Thursday (because we totally didn’t forget to post this on Tuesday)

This is an animation of the  Astronumicum Caesareum (Astronomy of the Caesars). It is a masterpiece of printing.

Apian sought to make astronomy easy in this lavish book for royal patrons. He reduced complex astronomical computation to simple mechanics with the aid of paper volvelles – those pictured are for Mars – adapted from the astrolabe. The discs enabled the casting of horoscopes (used by doctors to treat patients), and the forecasting of eclipses and comets. The reader was expected to know little more than the most basic mathematics.

Petrus Apianus - Dragon and the Lunar Cycle (detail), “Astronomicum Caesareum”, 1540.

As shown in this wheel chart, there is an ancient connection in Mythology and Astrology, with Dragon and the Lunar Cycle, seen here in the Lunar Node (the point where the Moon crosses over the Ecliptic was also called the Dragon’s Head and Tail, dictating the periods of the Eclipse Cycle, according to the Phi Ratio. The Eclipse limits for both Solar and Lunar Eclipses are dictated by a 6 degree range within 12.5° to 18.5° of the Lunar Node, wherein a New Moon or Full Moon takes place. The average period of 173.333 days between Eclipses, is seen as the Sun links with a lunar Node when two of these 173.333 day-periods elapse, giving us an Eclipse year of 346.62 days, 18.6 days short of the Solar year of 365.242. This reveals an aspect of the Phi Ratio because 18.618 x 18.618=346.62 telling us that the Eclipse year relates to the overall Luni-Solar Cycle via the Phi Ratio of 1.618. This link between the Head and Tail of the Dragon and the Eclipse Cycle of the Luni-Solar year, establishes the importance of not only the Blood Moon Tetrad of 2014-2015, but also the related Blood Moon Lunar and Solar eclipses during this period.

Since the 6 degree range of the Lunar Node was formerly tied to Draco at the northern Celestial Pole, it indicates the time before the Dragon throws down his Spirit Realm. However, after the Dragon itself is struck down, its Head and Tail would be transferred from the Polar regions, down to the Ecliptic, where Serpens and the Hydra are located. This powerful figure of Dragon casting down his 1/3 of the stars of Heaven (Fallen Angels] to the Earth, was symbolically depicted as a literal Meteor shower from the Constellation Draco, during the time of Christ’s birth. 

Planets and Zodiac around a man pierced with converging blades, Italian medieval manuscript, circa 1400.

Part of the Medieval worldview was the idea that man was a microcosm (“a little world”) which reflected the macrocosm of the Ptolemaic universe. As the Earth was divided into regions influenced by the planets, similarly the body of man was divided into “regions” governed by signs of the Zodiac. Astrological signs were thought to influence the body and its health, and sketches of the “Zodiac Man” are common in medical treatises of the Middle Ages. These diagrams instructed doctors and barber-surgeons whether it was safe to bleed a patient or to perform surgery; if the Moon was in the sign of the bodypart in question, it was not recommended. The position of the moon could be determined with a volvelle - a rotating calendar.

Xth Olympiad, Los Angeles
Times Mirror Printing & Binding House
1932; 5.5" Ø

Here’s another of my older volvelles — a swell wheel chart from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, in lovely green & blue. It’s sponsored by Coke (duh), and anywhere there isn’t an answer, a tiny Coca-Cola logo appears. The back lists finals from 1928 that are too complicated to list on the front (eg boxing has 8 different categories), but it’s not very interesting looking, so I skipped scanning it.

I like the way the slot is surrounded by swells in the inner circle to focus your attention on the category at hand, and the boxes with tiny arrows around Place and Date are nice, too. Some of this looks type-set, but some (the names inside the boxes and the text around the outer circle) are hand lettered. It’s especially evident for long names, like O'Callaghan from Ireland, who won the 1928 hammer throw.

Army-Navy Insignia Guide
No maker listed
1942; 4 1/8" Ø 

This volvelle shows the various stars and stripes denoting Army & Navy officers. I love that the rotation, in addition to naming the rank, shows the actual wrist, arm, or shoulder ornaments (there are two possible location for both the Army & Navy — you can see the other possibilities in this view of the general’s and admiral’s uniforms). Right below “(© 1942) New York, N.Y.” (beneath Navy guy) something is scratched out. Maybe this named the maker? I wonder why it’s scratched out.  Below that is a large white space for an individual shop to stamp their name and address, and Sidney L. Stiglitz of 117 West 33rd Street has done just that with elaborate lettering, and including their phone number complete with exchange.

I love the array of pins around the two officers and that Army Guy’s hat sticks outside the circle. I also love that they’re not looking at each other or acknowledging each other in any way, Navy Fellow just holding his binoculars and Army Guy his right glove, each staring off in a different direction.

PS: Hey, I finally got a scanner! Now I can make better pics of all but the biggest volvelles.

volvelle  asked:

Like Series 1 was intense, but the ending wasn't too bad! But THIS EPISODE. Their kiss I was so happy, but then Lix and randall's daughter, and then Freddie. he should have just left with her, instead of going to see them!

EXACTLY. Series 1 was captivating and full of intrigue, but we cannot say it ended badly.
No, really, how could they just end it like this? Why did they even fell the need to finish it like this?