Forgotten Stars: Rediscovering Manilius' Astronomica

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The Astronomica of Manilius is a poem in five books, at least partly written under the Emperor Augustus, which purports to teach the reader the art of astrology and the means by which an accurate horoscope may be cast. It is, therefore, a text from the classical age of Roman literature which deals with a topic to whose enduring popular interest any daily Western newspaper will testify. And yet, despite some notable modern exceptions, the infamously harsh verdict of Manilius' most ardent modern critic, A. E. Housman, continues to cast an imposing shadow on the poem. Forgotten Stars seeks to lift this shadow once and for all, as it brings together an international contingent of scholars to analyse this dynamic poem from a variety of perspectives. Matters of literary interest are complemented by approaches which assess the work's socio-political, philosophical, scientific, and astrological resonance, as well as its influence on later Renaissance writers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This volume] can certainly be used to show (to students, for example) how knowledge should not stay fixed and dogmatic and how the different disciplines in classics, such as philosophy, epistemology, and literature, should always have dialogues with one another. I must stress the open-mindedness not only of the editors, but also of the seventeen contributors who are often openly criticized by their fellow contributors to the same volume. This volume is well constructed and easy to use." —Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"An admirable collection that opens fruitful new pathways for inquiry into Manilius' Astronomica. This book—like Manlius himself!—is required reading for scholars of ancient philosophy, didactic poetry, and Augustan literature."—T.H.M. Gellar-Goad, Classical Journal

" and provocative, and the whole promises to fulfil the aims of the editors, and of Sherburne, in attracting a wider readership to the Astronomica." — Journal for the History of Astronomy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199586462
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/19/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven J. Green is Senior Lecturer in Classis, University of Leeds

Katharina Volk is Associate Professor of Classics, Columbia University

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A century of Manilian scholarship, Katharina Volk
I. Intellectual and scientific backdrop
2. More sentiment than science: Roman stargazing before and after Manilius, Elaine Fantham
3. Manilius' conflicted Stoicism, Thomas Habinek
4. Myth and explanation in Manilius, Daryn Lehoux
II. Integrity and consistency
5. Watch this space (getting round book 1: 215-46), John Henderson
6. On two Stoic 'paradoxes' in Manilius, Wolfgang-Rainer Mann
7. Manilian self-contradiction, Katharina Volk
8. Arduum ad astra: The poetics and politics of horoscopic failure in Manilius' Astronomica, Steven J. Green
III. Metaphors
9. Tropes and figures: Manilian style as a reflection of astrological tradition, Wolfgang Hubner
10. Sums in verse or a mathematical aesthetic?, Duncan F. Kennedy
11. Census and commercium: Two economic metaphors in Manilius, Patrick Glauthier
IV. Didactic digressions
12. Digressions, intertextuality, and ideology in didactic poetry: The case of Manilius, Monica R. Gale
13. Cosmos and imperium: Politicized digressions in Manilius' Astronomica, Josephe-Henriette Abry
14. A song from the universal chorus: The Perseus and Andromeda epyllion, James Uden
V. Reception
15. Augustus, Manilius, and Claudian, Enrico Flores
16. Renaissance reception of Manilius' anthropology, Caroline Stark
17. Lorenzo Bonincontri's reception of Manilius' chapter on comets (Astr. 1.809-926), Stephan Heilen

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