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Re: Prediction time...
I've just read Nancy G. Siraisi's excellent "Medieval & Early Renaissance
Medicine" (1990): there's a lot to report, but here are the two
show-stoppers I simply couldn't wait to post.
[T]he horoscope at conception or birth was also considered to
signal or predispose the physical and mental constitution of each
individual down to the most minute detail... Horoscopic astrology
thus had a place in reproductive theory as well as in medical
It could also provide a form of reproductive planning: the Emperor
Frederick II (d. 1250) delayed sexual intercourse with his bride
until his astrologers told him that the propitious moment for the
generation of a male had arrived; immediately after the marriage
had been consummated according to the astrologers''
recommendations, the emperor confidently informed the empress
that she was now pregnant with a son. According to the chronicler
Matthew Paris, who reported the story, the astrologers had given
the right advice, and nine months later the empress duly gave
birth to a son.
[T]he lectures given at Bologna in the early 1320s by the astrologer
Cecco d'Ascoli were prefaced by a justification of the value of
astrology for medical studies. (Cecco d'Ascoli's subsequent death
at the stake, possibly for his astrological determinism, may have
caused a temporary dimuntion of interest in astrology among
medical students at the University of Bologna.)
So: my revised prediction is that the astrological charts in the VMS are
*exactly* the kind of charts used (or drawn up) by the Emperor's astrologer
- and that, with the tide of Church opinion going strongly against
astrological determinism, the VMS needed to be encoded for its owner to try
to avoid being burned much the same way as Cecco d'Ascoli.
If true, the VMS may be the only extant copy of these kinds of charts
(precisely because of their heretical nature).
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....