Sol and His Children - detail

The Planets and Their Children
A Blockbook of Medieval Popular Astrology

The influence of the planets on humans was a subject of popular interest in mid-fifteenth century Europe. Addressed in many medical and astrological manuscripts of the time, it made its mark in early printing through the appearance of blockbooks which contained depictions of each planet in anthropomorphic form together with an illustration of the pasttimes, professions, and conditions of its "children" - people influenced at birth by the planet. For each planet, the images were matched with texts which reviewed what we would call "astronomical" information about the planet (position, period, speed, etc.) and "astrological" information on its "children".

There are both manuscript and printed versions of these illustrated texts. The version presented here is meant specifically to give a modern reader an immediate experience of these books, to make this particular late-medieval common knowledge accessible to the nonspecialist.


The Book of the Seven Planets
Astronomy & Astrology *** Blockbooks *** This Edition *** The Poems


June, 1995. January, 2000.
Marianne Hansen, mhh4@cornell.edu.