While astronomical instruments could be as useful to the medieval person as Google Maps is to us today, you pretty much needed a whole degree in mathematics to figure out how to use them properly.
One of the most persistent myths about the Middle Ages is that this was a time when science slept, deliberately suppressed by the medieval church. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. This week, Danièle speaks with Seb Falk about the amazing story of medieval science.
This book, a reworking of Ptolemy’s astronomical masterpiece, the Almagest, was written in the early 1460s by Georg Peurbach and Johannes Regiomontanus, two of the most important figures of fifteenth-century astronomy.
Nearly a millennium and a half ago, red light streaked the night sky over Japan.
Chronicles and narrative histories of the Early Middle Ages contain a number of entries relating to astronomical events and atmospheric phenomena.
We identified thirteen celestial phenomena (comet passages and total eclipses of the Sun) that may have been collected in the construction of the Ragnarök image among the ancient Norsemen
Strange atmospheric phenomena visible all over Europe in September 1465 are interpreted as the result of a volcanic dust veil, possibly originating from a re-dated eruption of Kuwae in Vanuatu, in the southwestern Pacific.
“Our manuscripts show practical knowledge, knowledge from antiquity carried through to the Middle Ages, and this is a great manuscript to further strengthen that aspect of our collection.”
“The idea for this study came about from the strong desire to challenge the common assumption and perceived lack of scientific enquiry in the early Middle Ages, or commonly referred to as ‘Dark Ages’. This was the spark that ignited the intellectual collaboration between a medievalist and an astronomer.”
Using thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts, Benjamin Anderson shows how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities.
Since lunar and solar parallax play a crucial role in predicting solar eclipses, the focus of this paper is on the computation of parallax.
1330. In this same year on the Ides of July at the 8th hour of the day, the Sun was so greatly obscured that of its great body only a small extremity like a three-night-old Moon was seen.
In his De luce (on light) he extends it to the origin of the Universe in what has been referred to as the ‘Medieval Big Bang’.
Dissatisfied with the problems of the geocentric system inherited from Claudius Ptolemy, Nicholas Copernicus began the change from geocentrism to heliocentrism.
This essay analyzes the astrolabe and its ability to transfer ideas and culture across traditional geographic boundaries, from the perspective of Europe in the Medieval and Early Modern eras.
It will be worth while in this investigation to inquire whether comets have the same nature as the planets and stars … A comet seems to have certain things in common with them: rising and setting, the same appearance, although a comet is scattered and extends farther. It is also fiery and bright. And so, if all planets are earthy bodies, comets will also have the same condition. ~ Seneca
This article examines the changing political landscape of Medicean Florence, from Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464) to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492), through the letters of the celebrated neo-Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-99).
A detailed examination of the themes, motifs and secrets held with Michelagelo’s masterpiece.
The Astronomy of Levi ben Gerson (d.1344) is unusual for recording 45 observations he made of planetary longitudes and latitudes that are presented here for the first time.
Ideas in a thirteenth-century treatise on the nature of matter still resonate today, say Tom C. B. McLeish and colleagues.
This paper deals with the analysis of data obtained from observations of two sets of three lunar eclipses in the Late Medieval Islamic Period.
Alchemical writing often develops the idea of a physical or analogical correspondence between heaven and earth: a relationship most fre- quently and conveniently expressed by the use of the seven planetary symbols (Sol, Luna, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) to denote the seven metals (usually gold, silver, quicksilver, copper, iron, tin and lead respectively).
It seems there’s one fact about the Middle Ages that always seems to astound people: medieval people did not actually think the world was flat.
Galileo would have dearly loved to explain to his examiners how his observations made belief in the Copernican system more intellectually respectable even though he had no irrefutable proof of the Earth’s motion, but this was an opportunity he never got.