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

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By Hilary M. Carey

Astrology has been whatever of an enduring characteristic at the face of Western tradition. This ebook, on formerly unexplored manuscript fabric, makes an attempt to accumulate a case examine of the function performed via astrology in later medieval England. Dr Carey has found horoscopes in relation to English monarchs from Edward II to Edward V. Astrology fought tough during this interval to maintain a few form of educational respectability. finally, astrologers have been beaten by way of the damaging politics of the overdue medieval court docket. In its glory, astrology shared and contributed to the terrific courts of Charles V of France, Richard II of britain and his Lancastrian usurpers. by means of the mid 15th century, it had turn into a dicy profession which however dramatically elevated fashionable and effect, first at court docket and eventually in any respect degrees of society.

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A cursory survey reveals that Wenceslaus 11 of Bohemia owned a physiognomy which borrowed from it. 61 Jean de Berri had a very attractive French copy, as did Elizabeth of Poland, wife of Charles, Robert d' Anjou, King of Hungary (d. 1387), or her son Louis d'Anjou, King of Hungary and Poland (d. 62 Besides the original Arabic version, Förster lists 207 manuscripts of the longer Latin version by Philip of Tivoli and sixty-two of that by John of Spain, not to mention the numerous translations into most of the European vemaculars as weIl as Hebrew.

Astrology is a volatile material, but it needs the right chemical conditions to explode. It can exist as a stable constituent of the intellectual world of scholarship, or it can synthesise within the cauldron of the court into a potent and noxious compound. In Chapters Four to Seven I outline the status and reception given to astrology in the courts of five English and French monarchs. Throughout the reigns of these kings it is possible to plot an increasing interest in astrology, measured by surviving books, translations commissioned, number of individuals who had astrological figures cast and other factors.

Astrologers were implicated in sorcery trials in both ways. By the fourteenth century, it must be accepted that astrology' had become secularised and the high intellectual ideals of earlier times had been abandoned. This kind of explanation has a ring of truth. It explains why astrology, a difficult and expensive art to acquire, was associated with witchcraft and poisoning at the sorcery trials. It also suggests why astrology acquired so many new adherents at the late medieval courts after having struggled in 'high and noble', but lonely, obscurity for so long.

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