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Re: Prediction time...

Hi everyone,

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.....