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Re: VMs: The Star Chart on f68r3

Hi Robert,

Herbals generally fall into two categories - "copyist" and "empiricist" - and the VMS definitely seems to fall within the latter (as well as "fantasist", though that might be from bad copying).

This empiricist mindset (coupled with the apparent lack of a metaphorical dimension to the diagrams) leads me to assert this: whenever you see a diagram in the VMS, the most appropriate first reaction should be to analyse its structure *literally*, as a mode of information representation - perhaps not a familiar mode, but as the manuscript apparently dates from well before the establishment of modern diagrammatic cliches, that's not entirely surprising. :-)

So: thus far, you're doing extremely well! :-)

Looking afresh at f68r3, then, I'm very comfortable with your proposed identification with the night sky stars: but as the central figure looks like a fairly full moon, would its light have overpowered the light from the stars around it? My Astronomy O-Level hasn't equipped me to answer this. :-o

Here's an alternate reading to consider - if it were instead a drawing of the night sky during a *lunar eclipse*, then the stars around it might become more clearly visible (in a medieval / late modern context, ie without significant light pollution). For an empiricist astronomer, this kind of event would probably be something of interest worth recording (in some way).

May I therefore suggest checking to see if historically a lunar eclipse occurred with the moon roughly at that same position in the night sky as before?

Also: as I believe both the 9-rosette map page and the cipherbet have close links with Milan, you might also consider moving your (virtual) location there: 45 degrees 27' N 9 degrees 17' E. :-)

Keep going, this is fascinating! :-)

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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