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The Earth and the Seasons, In Macrobius's Commentary on Cicero's 'Dream of Scipio'

The Earth and the Seasons, In Macrobius's Commentary on Cicero's  'Dream of Scipio'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1125

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Faustina C I

Item number: f.86v

Length: 29.2

Width: 18

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Should a politician act upon practical necessity or be guided by theory? Cicero (1st century BCE) has several philosophers debate this question in ?On Public Affairs? (?De re publica?), ending with the ?Dream of Scipio?, a vision of heavenly glories awaiting selfless politicians. Macrobius (5th century CE) commented on the 'Dream? through the lens of contemporary philosophy which argued a superior transcendent reality. The commentary?s mysticism and its views of geography (proposing a round earth) appealed to medieval theologians. This manuscript?s handwriting style and inclusion of verses by Rhygyfarch (Ricemarch), poet of St David?s, link it with Wales. Macrobius discusses several kinds of divisions of the earth and its ?ether? (surrounding heavenly sphere), including five climatic zones and bisection into upper and lower regions. The diagram combines these two sets of divisions to illustrate his discussion of the seasons.

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