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A king advised on the influence of the stars, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

A king advised on the influence of the stars, in Pseudo-Aristotle's 'About the Secrets of Secrets'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1327

Shelfmark: Additional MS 47680

Item number: f.31v

Length: 23.7

Width: 15.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Believed in the middle ages to be Aristotle?s letter to Alexander the Great, ?About the Secrets of Secrets? concerns government and is a Latin translation of an Arabic work. A London scribe and King's Clerk, Walter of Milemete, and a team of artists probably made this richly decorated copy in 1326-1327. Milemete intended it to accompany his own treatise on royal virtues for presentation to Edward III. The 'Secrets' was owned by the Earls of Leicester, at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. A good king must be informed on all influences on his kingdom and dynasty. In the medieval view, the stars, especially those in the sky at the time of a ruler's birth, held a powerful sway over character and destiny. A section on these matters begins with a picture of a king between two specialist advisers, looking up at the stars, which resemble furry pinwheels. Below are scenes of a royal birth. First, a midwife attends the queen and her snugly wrapped newborn, followed by mother and baby resting.

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