To create a drawing that links the Zodiac Man, Christian doctrine and heliocentric cosmology.
“At first the new religion was set at one pole, and any other cognizance of the heavens at the other.” (BOBER 4)The Church was slow to accept astrology and astronomy as valid sciences. However, many thinkers (and artists) attempted to reconcile the two. “[Astrology] had been too deeply ingrained in the body of “scientific” knowledge to be long held in disfavour” (BOBER 5) The Zodiac man is a prime example of this.
Neff speaks of the acquired religious symbolism of the Zodiac Man: “The Christ-like appearance of many images of the micro-cosm […] suggests this relationship to the creator. The frontal pose, with outstretched arms and vertical and horizontal axiality illustrates the human body’s congruence with the four-part ordering of the cosmos […] mankind as the microembodiment of the universe; and mankind as the imperfect mirror of the creator-exemplar, seen in his Christ-like pose.” (NEFF 54)
Bober further describes what such a microembodiment would have looked like, distinguishing between the Zodiac Man and the Microscopic Man: “The Microcosmic Man in his circle is meant to be read in a radial sense, as a web with twelve points on its circumference (the zodiac), seven intermediary points (the planets), and an innermost circle (man), upon which the radii converge” (BOBER 28)
I will attempt to create a drawing/machine which adjusts the Microcosmic Man’s position within the universe, and places him according to our current understanding of the solar system.
Examples of the Microcosmic Man (BOBER plate 3)
Statue of Copernicus in Poland
The Zodiacal Miniature of the Très Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry: Its Sources and Meaning
The Zodiac man in medieval medical astrology
Charles West Clark
‘Palma Dabit Palmam’: Franciscan Themes in a Devotional Manuscript
How to tell the time during the day:
Hold the astrolabe at eye level.
Using the sights on the alidade, align them so the sun passes through both of them.
Note the angle of the alidade at this point (let’s say it’s at 30 degrees, in the morning).
Align the alidade with the calendar date. Note the corresponding (aligned) zodiac date. This
indicates the Sun’s position on the ecliptic (let’s say it’s Pisces 25).
5. Turn the astrolabe over. Align the zodiac date on the ecliptic with the correct angle of the sun.
(Pisces 25 on 30 degrees). We will use the East/left side of the plate because it is the morning
(we would use the West side in the afternoon).
6. Rotate the rule so it aligns with Pisces 25. This gives us the current solar time on the outer scale.
As my astrolabe does not have time markings, the user would find the time by assigning the 12
am value to the 180 degree marking, and counting each subsequent hour at 15 degree intervals,
How to tell the time at night:
1. Hold the astrolabe at eye level.
2. Using the sights on the alidade, align them so that a chosen star (let’s say Cor Leonis)is seen
3. Note the angle of the alidade (let’s say 40 degrees).
4. Align the alidade with the calendar date. Note the corresponding zodiac date (once again, let’s
say Pisces 25).
5. Turn the astrolabe over. Align Cor Leonis’ star pointer with the 40 degree almucantar (or
altitude circle). There are once again two options: one can align on the East or the West side
of the plate. The University of Hawaii website recommends doing both the readings (East
and West) with two different stars. From the four results (completing all 5 steps), two will
correspond, thus giving the correct time.
6. Finally, rotate the rule so it aligns with Pisces 25 on the ecliptic. By following the above
recommendations, we shall once again find the solar time.
To find “legal time” (the one on your watch), the modern user would take into account (a) latitude, (b)
the difference between Real (or Apparent) Solar Time (as calculated on the astrolabe) and Mean Solar
Time (the time on the clock), and finally, (c) daylight savings.
Phillipe Dutarte’s website explains this well for modern astrolabes: http://dutarte.perso.neuf.fr/