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Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe
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Details

  • 26 b/w illus. 4 tables
  • Page extent: 252 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.38 kg
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Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521778527 | ISBN-10: 0521778522)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published November 2000

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$29.99 (G)

Historians have long recognized that the rebirth of science in twelfth-century Europe flowed from a search for ancient scientific texts. But this search presupposes knowledge and interest; we only seek what we know to be valuable. The emergence of scholarly interest after centuries of apparent stagnation seems paradoxical. This book resolves that seeming contradiction by describing four active traditions of early medieval astronomy: one divided the year by observing the Sun; another computed the date of Easter Full Moon; the third determined the time for monastic prayers by watching the course of the stars; and the classical tradition of geometrical astronomy provided a framework for the cosmos. Most of these astronomies were practical; they sustained the communities in which they flourished and reflected and reinforced the values of those communities. These astronomical traditions motivated the search for ancient learning that led to the Scientific Renaissance of the twelfth century.

Contents

Illustrations; Abbreviations; Preface; Part I. The Environment for Medieval Astronomies: 1. Astronomies in cultures; 2. The heritage of astronomical practice; 3. Astronomy and Christian thought; Part II. The Cultivation of Early Medieval Astronomies: 4. Continuity and change in solar ritual; 5. Computing the central time - the date of Easter; 6. Observing the Celestial order - monastic timekeeping; 7. Astronomy in the Liberal Arts; Part III. The Harvest of Medieval Astronomies: 8. The fusion of astronomical traditions; 9. The encounter of Arabic and Latin astronomies; 10. The rebirth of Ptolemaic astronomy; Bibliography.

Reviews

"McCluskey gives an interesting and informative survey...this is an interesting volume, and a work of considerable expertise." R.N. Swanson, International Journal of the Classical Tradition

"This book presents strong theses, clearly explained and defended. Its view of astronomy (or 'astronomies') in early medieval Europe stakes out a large and previously ill-defined topic for interpretation and exposition. It invites and will surely receive responses with alternate interpretations--clear proof of its value." Bruce Eastwood, Isis

"...well-written....[Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe] will be the standard treatment of European astronomy before the coming of Aristotle and Ptolemy for the foreseeable future." American Historical Review

"This book presents strong theses, clearly explained and defended. Its view of astronomy (or 'astronomies') in early medieval Europe stakes out a large and previously ill-defined topic for interpretation and exposition. It invites and will surely receive responses with alternate interpretations--clear proof of its value." Bruce Eastwood, Isis

"...well-written....[Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe] will be the standard treatment of European astronomy before the coming of Aristotle and Ptolemy for the foreseeable future." American Historical Review

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