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Chapter 3 gives an account of the transmission of Islamicate meteorology into Northern and Western Europe. An early phase was the collection and study of the texts known as the Alchandrean Corpus, which provided short introductions to topics within astronomy and mathematics. The chapter then considers twelfth-century translations of more advanced works, and especially of treatises on weather-forecasting. The contributions of Petrus Alfonsi, and the reception of Latin translations of Arabic versions of the works of Ptolemy, are discussed. The chapter argues that it was this period that saw the creation of Latin, Christian forms of astrologically based weather forecasting. Moreover, this was no transitory fashion, and the new, astrometeorology remained dominant until the seventeenth century. Central to this new science was the application of fundamental works by Ptolemy, and this is considered in detail. The final part of the chapter gives an outline of the works of Islamicate astrometeorology that were translated into Latin, and especially of the theories of al-Kindi. The conclusion is that Latin writers and translators searched out works on weather forecasting, and rapidly began to produce their own versions.
The practice of weather forecasting underwent a crucial transformation in the Middle Ages. Exploring how scientifically-based meteorology spread and flourished from c.700–c.1600, this study reveals the dramatic changes in forecasting and how the new science of 'astro-meteorology' developed. Both narrower and more practical in its approach than earlier forms of meteorology, this new science claimed to deliver weather forecasts for months and even years ahead, on the premise that weather is caused by the atmospheric effects of the planets and stars, and mediated by local and seasonal climatic conditions. Anne Lawrence-Mathers explores how these forecasts were made and explains the growing practice of recording actual weather. These records were used to support forecasting practices, and their popularity grew from the fourteenth century onwards. Essential reading for anyone interested in medieval science, Medieval Meteorology demonstrates that the roots of scientific forecasting are much deeper than is usually recognized.
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