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A Kingdom of Stargazers: Astrology and Authority in the Late by Michael A. Ryan

By Michael A. Ryan

Astrology within the heart a while used to be thought of a department of the paranormal arts, one educated by means of Jewish and Muslim medical wisdom in Muslim Spain. As such it used to be deeply troubling to a few Church experts. utilizing the celebrities and planets to divine the long run ran counter to the orthodox Christian idea that humans have unfastened will, and a few clerical professionals argued that it in all probability entailed the summoning of non secular forces thought of diabolical. we all know that occult ideals and practices turned frequent within the later heart a while, 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 achieve through interacting with the occult? In A state of Stargazers, Michael A. Ryan examines the curiosity in astrology within the Iberian state 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 their courts. whilst Martí I took the throne, even if, he was firm to purge Joan's courtiers and go back to non secular orthodoxy. As Ryan indicates, the attraction of astrology to these in strength used to be transparent: predicting the long run via divination was once a priceless instrument for addressing the intense problems―political, spiritual, 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 understand what the long run held, yet their engagement with the occult was once at once on the topic of the quantity of strength and authority the monarch exhibited and utilized. A state of Stargazers joins a turning out to be physique of scholarship that explores the blending of spiritual and magical rules within the past due center Ages.

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John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, thanks to a Heckman stipend, and I thank the library’s staff and librarians, especially Theresa Vann and Matthew Heintzelman, for all of their assistance. 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.

Divination resists absolute precision, for these texts could be, and were, read in a multiplicity of ways. 46 Further complicating matters, medieval prophetic texts are filled with allusions that contemporary readers might have understood but which modern readers, many centuries removed, have difficulties unraveling.  . ”47 Whatever else one might say about the later Middle Ages, they were a time of considerable uncertainty and uneasiness. Visions of the Apocalypse and debates over the end of the world were rampant throughout centers of learning across the continent.

As Thomas Aquinas (d. 14 Nevertheless, attempting to divine the future was fundamentally problematic in that it inevitably required the summoning of forces that religious authorities deemed diabolic. The Church, therefore, believed it was absolutely necessary to restrict people’s access to the reservoirs of power and knowledge that the occult, by its very nature, promised. By engaging in occult practices, the kings of the Crown of Aragon were operating in defiance of centuries-old theological restrictions against divination and the occult.

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