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  • Writer's pictureJean Michel

The Codex of Astronomy and Astrology of King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia, circa 1400.




Considered a masterpiece of Gothic illumination, the Codex was created at the court of King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia (1361–1419), the uncrowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. This manuscript was created by a team of artists in the so-called Wenceslaus workshops under the direction of his court astronomer Terzysko, who incorporated ancient Jewish and Islamic texts into it.


The large-format manuscript, made for the king's personal use, testifies to the rich artistic culture that Wenceslas cultivated at his court in Prague and that attracted many outstanding artists of that time.


As the fortunes of the Kingdom of Bohemia rose within the Holy Roman Empire, the court at Prague became one of the most magnificent in Europe and the city itself became an important center of art and learning. Although his rule was contentious and uncertain, Wenceslaus was a learned man who patronized many splendid manuscripts including the famous Wenceslas Bible.


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