Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe

Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe

by Stephen C. McCluskey
     
 

Historians have long recognized that the rebirth of science in twelfth-century Europe flowed from a search for ancient scientific texts. But this search presupposes knowledge and interest; we seek only what we know to be valuable. The emergence of scholarly interest after centuries of apparent stagnation seems paradoxical. This book resolves that seeming contradiction… See more details below

Overview

Historians have long recognized that the rebirth of science in twelfth-century Europe flowed from a search for ancient scientific texts. But this search presupposes knowledge and interest; we seek only what we know to be valuable. The emergence of scholarly interest after centuries of apparent stagnation seems paradoxical. This book resolves that seeming contradiction by describing four active traditions of early medieval astronomy: one divided the year by observing the Sun; another computed the date of Easter Full Moon; the third determined the time for monastic prayers by watching the course of the stars; and the fourth, the classical tradition of geometrical astronomy, provided a framework for the cosmos. Most of these astronomies were practical; they sustained the communities in which they flourished and reflected and reinforced the values of those communities. These astronomical traditions motivated the search for ancient learning that led to the Scientific Renaissance of the twelfth century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521583619
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
01/13/1998
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.94(d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of abbreviations
Preface
1Astronomies in cultures3
Times and calendars4
2The heritage of astronomical practice11
Prehistoric solar horizon calendars11
Classical horizon systems14
The stellar calendars of antiquity15
Geometrical astronomy17
Ptolemaic astronomy20
The decline of observational calendars24
Christianity and the Julian calendar25
3Astronomy and Christian thought29
The scriptural background30
Scriptural commentaries31
Astrology and astral religion38
4Continuity and change in solar ritual51
Calendar and ritual in Celtic Gaul54
Christening the solar calendar60
The context of solar rituals69
5Computing the central time - the date of Easter77
Astronomical principles of Easter cycles80
The early history of Easter computus84
The Irish Paschal controversy87
The Paschal controversy in England92
6Observing the celestial order - monastic timekeeping97
Monastic prayer and astronomy99
The celestial order101
The astronomy of De cursu stellarum104
Monastic timekeeping after De cursu110
7Astronomy in the liberal arts114
Late Roman learning117
Antique learning in Ostrogothic Italy122
Astronomy in the Visigothic court123
8The fusion of astronomical traditions131
Astronomy and court culture140
The reemergence of astrology145
Teaching computus149
The revival of the liberal arts157
9The encounter of Arabic and Latin astronomies165
Practical astronomies at Cordoba and Gorze166
The astrolabe171
All things in number and measure180
10The rebirth of Ptolemaic astronomy188
Translators and translations188
Universities and the new learning190
The corpus astronomicum192
Astronomy outside the universities204
The legacy of early medieval astronomies206
Bibliography209
Index229

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