By Michael A. Ryan
Astrology within the heart a long time used to be thought of a department of the paranormal arts, one knowledgeable through Jewish and Muslim medical wisdom in Muslim Spain. As such it was once deeply troubling to a couple Church specialists. utilizing the celebs and planets to divine the longer term ran counter to the orthodox Christian thought that people have unfastened will, and a few clerical specialists argued that it very likely entailed the summoning of religious forces thought of diabolical. we all know that occult ideals and practices grew to become frequent within the later heart a long time, yet there's a lot concerning the phenomenon that we don't comprehend. for example, how deeply did occult ideals penetrate courtly tradition and what precisely did these in positions of energy desire to realize by means of interacting with the occult? In A country of Stargazers, Michael A. Ryan examines the curiosity in astrology within the Iberian country of Aragon, the place principles approximately magic and the occult have been deeply intertwined with notions of strength, authority, and providence.
Ryan specializes in the reigns of Pere III (1336–1387) and his sons Joan I (1387–1395) and Martí I (1395–1410). Pere and Joan spent lavish quantities of cash on astrological writings, and astrologers held nice sway inside of their courts. while Martí I took the throne, although, he was resolute to purge Joan's courtiers and go back to non secular orthodoxy. As Ryan exhibits, the charm of astrology to these in strength was once transparent: predicting the long run via divination was once a worthwhile software for addressing the intense problems―political, non secular, demographic―plaguing Europe within the fourteenth century. in the meantime, the kings' contemporaries in the noble, ecclesiastical, and mercantile elite had their very own purposes for eager to recognize what the long run held, yet their engagement with the occult used to be at once regarding the quantity of strength and authority the monarch exhibited and utilized. A state of Stargazers joins a starting to be physique of scholarship that explores the blending of spiritual and magical rules within the overdue heart Ages.
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Additional info for A Kingdom of Stargazers: Astrology and Authority in the Late Medieval Crown of Aragon
To the undergraduate and graduate students whom I had the honor of teaching at both the University of Minnesota and Purdue University, I thank you for your own thoughts and questions regarding some of the trickier issues surrounding medieval magic and the occult. Your ideas and suggestions have always been helpful and most welcome, and my interactions with you have helped me grow as a scholar and a teacher. The teaching assistance provided over the years by graduate students Heather Akin, Shawn Bennion, Hira Bhattacharyya, Dorothée Bouquet, Elise Dermineur, Joshua Flanery, Angela Ghionea, Amy Harris, Tim Olin, David Schlosser, Pierre Schmitt, Luo Wang, James Williams, and, crucially, Amy Bosworth, was invaluable, and your labor helped provide me substantial time to work on this manuscript.
37 By the fourteenth century the events of the Great Schism led many to believe that the drama they were experiencing was in fact the “falling away” that Paul had predicted. 38 Scholars and theologians alike turned to biblical exegesis in tandem with astrology and other occult practices for purposes of divining future events, but of course they read their results through a particularly Christian lens. The French cardinal and theologian Pierre d’Ailly, for example, relied on astrology in just this manner.
A Library Scholars Grant from Purdue permitted me a month’s sojourn at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in the summer of 2006. I thank Bartow Culp and Larry Mykytiuk, librarians at Purdue University, as well as Robert Babcock, at the Beinecke, and the staff of the Beinecke, for their assistance in procuring valuable catalogs and primary sources affiliated with the Mellon Collection of Alchemy and the Occult. Purdue University’s Department of History provided me an invaluable semester research leave to transcribe Nicolau Eymerich’s treatise Contra praefigentes certum terminum fini mundi, a copy of which the helpful staff at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid readily and conscientiously provided me, and to travel to Barcelona to conduct additional research at the Archivo Diocesano de Barcelona, the Biblioteca de Catalunya, and the Archivo de la Corona de Aragón.