The Limits of Influence

Pico, Louvain, and the Crisis of Renaissance Astrology


Historians of science often acknowledge the academic status of astrology in the early modern period, but mostly fail to explore its relation with other disciplines and its role in society. This book seeks to fill that gap.
The first part of the book examines the practices and functions that shaped late medieval astrology, and relates how its academic status became discredited, both in northern Italy and the Low Countries. The second part of the book examines various counter-strategies of astrological reform, and shows how these ultimately failed to restore public trust in academic astrology.
This book provides a new level of detail to the history of astrology. It also establishes important new links with other fields, like the history of universities, humanism, astronomy, medicine, and instrument building.

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Steven vanden Broecke, Ph.D.(2000) in History, University of Leuven, is a Fellow in the Department of the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at The Johns Hopkins University. His research and teaching interests include European science, religion, and the occult in the late medieval and early modern periods.
' …a delight to read, with detailed historical accounts of important figures and episodes in the reform of late medieval and Renaissance astrological practice…The book presents particularly valuable discussions of the relationship between astology and contemporary disciplines, such as medicine, meteorolgoy, theology, physics, and of course, astronomy.' M.V. Dougherty, Renaissance Quarterly.
Acknowledgments List of Illustrations Introduction 1. Some preliminary remarks on astrology 2. Astrology and late medieval academic culture. Louvain, 1425-1516. 3. Between astrological reform and rejection: Giovanni Pico's Disputations (1494) 4. Humanism and court astrology: the 1524 conjunctions at Louvain 5. Astrology and the Louvain cosmographical tradition Intermezzo. A few comments on the use and nature of astrological reform 6. Copernican astronomy and Louvain astrology 7. Ptolemy, parapegmata, mathematics, and monsters. The reform of mundane astrology 8. Prorogations, houses, and natal astrology Conclusion Bibliography Indices
All those interested in intellectual history, history of science and scientific boundary-making, Renaissance humanism, and the history of universities, as well as philosophers and scientists.