From the Archives: Zodiac Horsemen

HorsemenOne of the more frustrating things about working in Special Collections is that often there are books written in foreign languages, and they don’t come with translations. One example of this is a reproduction of an illustrated manual of military technology called Bellifortis. This treatise, which was originally written in the very beginning of the 15th century, includes illustrations of everything from catapults and trebuchets to crazy death pitchforks.

Unfortunately, the manuscript itself is written in Latin, the book of accompanying essays we have for it is written in German, and the academic area of the Internet does not seem to be very keen on sharing their research on this treatise. Therefore, the actual captions and relevance of most of the illustrations is a bit of a mystery. These seven horsemen were clearly inspired by astrology and mixing the zodiac symbols together into outfits and horses. Since there are really no accompanying captions, the actual reasoning behind these images is unknown, but they’re kind of fun to look at, especially if you know your zodiac sign (and those of your friends!).

If you’re interested in seeing some of the crazy death pitchforks, you can always visit the Archives & Special Collections on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 1:00-3:00 p.m.!

By Morgan Ford

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