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Research Sources For Astrology

Astrology In Medieval And Renaissance Europe

Astrology declined, rose, and declined again during the Latin Middle Ages and Renaissance. During the early middle ages, the early Christian hostility towards astrology and the decline of education in Greek led to the near-disappearance of astrology. It was re-introduced during the twelfth century when a great variety of Greek philosophical and scientific texts were translated from Arabic. Of course, Arabic language commentaries and original works were translated as well. The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw the first translations directly from Greek, notably Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, and the Renaissance of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries became one of the great ages of astrology. Astrology declined, however, with the rise of modern science in the late seventeenth century.

Allen, Don Cameron, The Star-Crossed Renaissance: The Quarrel about Astrology and its Influence in England (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1941) {Good survey.}

Blazekovic, Zdravko, Music in Medieval and Renaissance astrological imagery. (PhD Thesis, City University of New York, 1997. Photocopy. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1998. [UMI 9807907] ) {Includes bibliographical references (pp. 523-45) and index of manuscripts.}

Calvin, John, An Admonicion Against Astrology Judiciall and Other Curiosities (London: Roulande Hall, 1561; University Microfilms, # 11404) {Calvin brings out all the classic anti- astrological arguments, emphasizing its conflict with free will (!). He uses the same arguments as Augustine.}

Capp, Bernard, Astrology and the Popular Press: English Almanacs, 1500-1800 (London & Boston: Faber & Faber, 1979) {An excellent social history. Almanacs were the major media of the day, for astrology and much else. Almanacs primarily predicted weather, but also political events.}

Carey, Hilary M., Courting Disaster. Astrology at the English Court and University in the Later Middle Ages (Houndsmills, Hampshire, UK, and London: Macmillan, 1992) {A good dissertation on astrology in medieval English politics. Very good bibliography.}

Cross, F. L. and Livingston, E. A., eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2nd ed., (London, Oxford, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1974) {Short article, which referred me to Augustine's City of God. Augustine's influence, they say, suppressed astrology in Latin Europe down to the thirteenth century, when it was re-introduced the Islamic world.}

Dee, Dr. John, The Private Diary of, and the Catalogue of his Library of Manuscripts, from the original Manuscripts in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford and Trinity College Library, Cambridge. ed. J. O. Halliwell (London, England, 1842) {"This Diary contains much fascinating material on the life, views and methods of Queen Elizabeth the great's leading astrologer, John Dee. The Appendix, which is a list of his Astrological, and other occult MSS is NOT aimed at works in English, for Dee was the master of many languages, but it constitutes the first attempt at a Bibliography of astrological books in the English speaking world. Dee is perhaps most famous for his attempts to contact the spirit world using a crystal, and his recording of the "Enochean" language and alphabet, but he was a serious historian, astrologer and mathematician in addition to his addiction to a primitive form of seance." --Win Rowe. Dee had a European reputation; the Emperor Rudolph and Ivan the Terrible competed to hire him. He was an important mathematician as well as astrologer, and was the first to translate Euclid's Geometry into English.}

Flint, Valerie I. J., The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991) {BF 1593.F45 1991. Magic and astrology made acceptable to Latin Medieval Christians in same ways I think it was to Late Antique Jews: the planets were interpreted as angels carrying out God's commands. Good bibliography, good ideas, but very poorly written.}

Fludd, Dr. Robert, Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica Physica Atque Technica Historia, (Frankfurt: Oppenheim, 1617) {Classic excursus on the Hellenistic/medieval/renaissance cosmology; particularly famous for its marvelous copper-plate engravings}

French, Peter J., John Dee; The World of an Elizabethan Magus (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972; repr. as paperback, 1984) {A good biography of the famous astrologer.}

Kepler, Johann, De fundamentis astrologiae certioribus, 1602 {Kepler, the great astronomer, also practiced astrology. In this work he rejects many traditional aspects of astrology, such as the houses and zodiac signs, and emphasizes aspects, the angular relationships between the planets.}

Kepler, Johann, Concerning the More Certain Fundamentals of Astrology (Edmonds, WA: Sure Fire Press, 1987) {An English translation of above.}

Klibansky, R., Panofsky, E., and Saxl, F., Saturn and Melancholy (London: 1964) {An interpretation of Albrecht Dürer's print "Melancolia I," in light of astrological medicine.}

Lewis, C. S., The Discarded Image (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964) {Excellent survey of medieval and Renaissance intellectual commonplaces, such as the powers of the planets. Lewis is particularly good in that he emphasizes what a motley collection of books medieval people inherited, and the distinctive way in which they interpreted and reconciled them.}

Lilly, William, An Introduction to Astrology, ed. Zadkiel [pseudonym] (London: G. Bell, 1907) {Lilly was the most famous astrologer in seventeenth century England, with a great deal of political influence during the English Civil War. "Zadkiel" was the re-founder of modern astrology in the nineteenth century, according to Howe, 1968.}

Lilly, William, An Introduction to Astrology, reprinted (Hollywood CA, Newcastle Books, 1972) {"This William Lilly's most famous work, and the standard text for the Horary tradition. Pretty much all Horary work begins here. Absolutely essential." --Win Rowe. It is largely based on Abu Ma'shar's works. Lilly was a "Hermetic" astrologer, the last of the magi. Astrology went out of intellectual fashion after his death, and later proponents have tried to use the methods of modern science.}

Lilly, William, The Last of the Astrologers, ed. K. M. Briggs (London: Folklore Society, Mistletoe Books, 1974) {First printed 1602-81. +IU. Cavendish, Magic, 1977, 170. Lilly's autobiography. "This is a reprint of William Lilly's autobiography, which is valuable in assessing the sincerity of a typical astrological publicist, popularizer, and practitioner in the last century of its involvement in ordinary public life in England." --Win Rowe. Compare Parker's 1975 biography}

Nowoty, K. A., "Construction of Certain Seals and Characters in the Work of Agrippa von Netesheim," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 12 (1949): pages 46-57 {Magic squares symbolizing the planets in amulets traced to Sabians. Extensive notes.}

Parker, Derek, Familiar to All. William Lilly and Astrology in the Seventeenth Century (London: J. Cape, 1975) {A biography of England's most important astrologer.}

Picatrix: The Latin Version of the Ghayat Al-Hakim, ed. David Pingree (London: Warburg Institute, University of London, 1986) {Very good. Pingree promises a second volume with Renaissance Italian, French, and English translations.}

Pingree, David, "Between the Ghaya and Picatrix I: The Spanish Version," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 44 (1981): pages 27-56 {On fragments of a twelfth century Spanish translation. Spanish and Latin text in parallel columns. Contains a useful account of how medieval translations were actually made.}

Rowse, A. L., Sex and Society in Shakespeare's Age: Simon Forman the Astrologer (NY: Scribner's, 1976) {Simon Foreman was Lilly's teacher, and quite an interesting character in his own right. Rowse puts Forman's astrological sex diaries to good use. Compare Parker, Familiar to All.}

Seznec, Jean, The Survival of the Pagan Gods. The Mythological Tradition and its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art, tr. from the French by Barbara F. Sessoins, Bollingen Series 38 (Pantheon Books, 1953) {French edition, Warburg Inst. Studies Vol. 11, London: Warburg Institute, 1940. Very good account of astrological symbolism in use in the Latin Middle Ages and the Renaissance.}

Shumaker, Wayne, The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance. A Study in Intellectual Patterns (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: U. of CA Pr., 1972) {A good introduction to Renaissance occultism in general. The first chapter is on astrology. Shumaker deserves praise for the unusual step of explicitly stating his own skeptical views of the occult, in the foreword. Well illustrated with reproductions of Renaissance woodcuts.}

Strauss, H. A., and Strauss-Klöbe, S., Die Astrologie des Johannes Kepler. Eine Auswahl aus seinen Schriften (1926) {The famous Renaissance scientist was also a prominent astrologer.}

Thomas, Keith, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1971) {A well-known, good, survey. Magic declined with the rise of Protestantism.}

Turner, Robert, Elizabethan Magic: The Art and the Magus, fwd. by Colin Wilson (Longmead, Dorset, UK: Element Books, Ltd., 1989) {A basic introduction to careers of Dee, Forman, Fludd, et al. Moderately good.}

Vicente-Garcia, Luis Miguel, La Astrologia En El Cristianismo Y En La Literatura Medieval Castellana. Edicion De La Octava Parte Inedita Del 'Libro Conplido En Los Juyzios De Las Estrellas' (University of California, Los Angeles: doctoral dissertation, 1989) {abstract: This dissertation brings to light an unedited medieval manuscript, the eighth part of the Libro conplido en los juyzios de las estrellas, found in the Cathedral of Segovia's archives. The edition of the manuscript is preceded by a study that highlights the attitude of Christian thinkers toward astrology and demonstrates how this attitude manifested itself in medieval Castilian literature}

Wright, Peter William George, Astrology in Mid-Seventeenth Century England. A Sociological Analysis (London, UK: University of London, Dissertation, 1983) {The author studies the social uses and milieu of astrology, and reasons for its decline in late seventeenth century. Astrology did not die because of the new astronomy.}