Courting Disaster: Astrology at the English Court and by Hilary M. Carey PDF

By Hilary M. Carey

Astrology has been whatever of an enduring characteristic at the face of Western tradition. This e-book, on formerly unexplored manuscript fabric, makes an attempt to accumulate a case learn of the position performed by way of astrology in later medieval England. Dr Carey has chanced on horoscopes with regards to English monarchs from Edward II to Edward V. Astrology fought difficult during this interval to preserve a few form of educational respectability. in spite of everything, astrologers have been crushed by means of the harmful politics of the overdue medieval courtroom. In its glory, astrology shared and contributed to the outstanding courts of Charles V of France, Richard II of britain and his Lancastrian usurpers. by way of the mid 15th century, it had develop into a dicy career which however dramatically elevated prominent and impression, first at court docket and eventually in any respect degrees of society.

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Extra resources for Courting Disaster: Astrology at the English Court and University in the Later Middle Ages

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3 The Astrologers: Books, Libraries and Scholars Who were the astrologers of medieval England, and where did they come from? What books did they read and where did they find them? Providing answers to these questions is the work of this chapter. In the Middle Ages, astrology was a literary and scholarly activity, dependent on the authority of written words and supposedly ancient authors, and on books. I have made the assumption that the best way to find English astrologers and their dients is to look for their books.

For them, astrology provided a key to the great mysteries of the nature and function of the heavenly bodies, and the forces which controlled events in the natural world. At Oxford in the first half of the fourteenth century a number of outstanding mathematicians, astronomers, physicists and logicians, especially from Merton College, built a formidable reputation for their advancement of the mathematical sciences. This material is outlined in Chapter Four. There is some evidence that certain of the most influential of the patrons of Merton, including Nicholas Sandwich, William Rede, and Simon Bredon, had a particular interest in astrology.

However, as a general rule, medievallibraries seem to have feIt no loss in possessing no books on the sciences beyond certain works of Aristotle, with their commentaries, a study of the compotus, a bestiary or lapidary, the De proprietatibus rerum of Bartholomew Anglicus, and perhaps Sacro Bosco or Grosseteste on the sphere. Books on the occult sciences were very much an optional extra indulged in only by the wealthiest and most extensive libraries. The same general impression of the subsidiary importance of the study of astrology and astronomy is obtained from the accounts of the antiquarians John Bale and John Leland.

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