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Introduction

Ancient Meteorology and the Transition to the Middle Ages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2019

Anne Lawrence-Mathers
Affiliation:
University of Reading
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Summary

This chapter provides definitions of contrasting classical and medieval approaches to meteorology. It outlines the relevant works of Aristotle, as well as the means by which selections from these were transferred to Roman writers. The roles of Pliny and Virgil are considered, together with their own reception by early medieval writers. A key point is that patristic writers, especially Augustine, integrated this knowledge of the natural world into Christian teachings on cosmology. However, Aristotle’s arguments on meteorology were primarily transmitted to Latin Europe in Islamicate versions, and came accompanied by new information on astronomy. The chapter then offers an account of the transition from classical, theoretical models of climate to more detailed calculation of planetary movements and their alleged meteorological effects. An important argument is that early medieval scientific work is often presented in diagrams and tables, themselves found in monastic works on the ecclesiastical year, and are easy to miss or underestimate.

Type
Chapter
Information
Medieval Meteorology
Forecasting the Weather from Aristotle to the Almanac
, pp. 1 - 16
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Introduction
  • Anne Lawrence-Mathers, University of Reading
  • Book: Medieval Meteorology
  • Online publication: 08 November 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108289948.002
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  • Introduction
  • Anne Lawrence-Mathers, University of Reading
  • Book: Medieval Meteorology
  • Online publication: 08 November 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108289948.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Anne Lawrence-Mathers, University of Reading
  • Book: Medieval Meteorology
  • Online publication: 08 November 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108289948.002
Available formats
×