IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1729: Scholars and the Natural World

Thursday 12 July 2012, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Angela Zielinski Kinney, Dumbarton Oaks / Department of the Classics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Paper 1729-aNo Rules in the Sky: Astrological Concepts Freely Adapted to French Divinatory Texts (Manuscript O.9.35, 14th Century, Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge)
(Language: English)
Arnaud Sibille, Université Paris IV - Sorbonne
Index terms: Manuscripts and Palaeography, Science
Paper 1729-bGervase of Tilbury's Proof of the Upper Sea: Knowing, Seeing, and Telling in 13th-Century Europe
(Language: English)
Kaitlin Heller, Department of History, University of Toronto, Downtown
Index terms: Folk Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Latin, Science
Paper 1729-cReflections on Public and Private on Medieval Letters: A Case Study of Power Relations in an Epistolary Visigothic
(Language: English)
Rodrigo Rainha, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Index terms: Education

Paper -a:
In the Middle Ages, divination is a controversial topic among the clergy; some philosophers deny its validity, whereas others condemn it as a kind of delusive magic. Yet, astrology stands out as an important science and seems to greatly differ from other oracular methods: because of its ancient fame and its links to the observation of the sky, astrology is accepted as a valid divinatory method by medieval scholars. Thus, astrology could be the ideal way of legitimating other oracular methods; this is probably why manuscript O.9.35 adapts astrological concepts to different divinatory texts (geomancy, lot-casting, lunaria, zodiologia, alchandreana…) in order to justify the validity of these minor arts.

Paper -b:
Gervase of Tilbury’s tale of the flying ship over England has attracted the attention of a handful of scholars from disparate fields, but none has explored Gervase’s own motives in relating the story. My paper will argue that this story is best examined in the light of nascent 12th- and 13th-century ideas about the order of the world, and about how reason and philosophia can establish that order. In explaining what natural laws the flying ship breaks, Gervase is himself breaking established contemporary rules about how we create knowledge of the natural world.

Paper -c:
This work is one of my doctoral research which has as its central axis the unfolding of power relations in the fields education and power relations in the Visigothic kingdom. Guided by the parameters of comparative study, we realized the importance of epistolary discourse as a tool for investigating the dynamics of the various agents of the Visigothic Kingdom.
The reflections that cover mainly the context of Late Antiquity and High Middle Ages, context in which worked through, but also the possibilities to approach the documents it produced. To this end, we propose to reflect on an issue that has certainly not exhausted nor in the field of historiography, or philology: the public or private documents of correspondence.
This discussion, which touches on issues of theoretical and practical research, will be addressed in its specificity, in the context Visigoth. Therefore aims to reflect on power relations in the Visigothic elite, based on the study of the Letters of the Bishop Braulio of Zaragoza and Isidore of Seville.