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Re: VMs: Re: New stars and what could or could not be in the VMs

Hi Barbara,

While I agree with your conclusions, many of your statements
are not quite correct.

> Odd as it may seem to us today, what was actually happening in the sky
> wasn't very relevant to astrologers. Astrologers used charts, tables (often
> in
> circular format) to make their calculations, and had the (to me anyway) very
> odd practice of rather than trying to see the sky through cloudy European
> skies, of throwing stones representing the planets onto zodiac charts to
> determine their position for the reading. This practice is actually the
> origin of the phrase "casting a horoscope" - from the casting of the
> stones onto a chart.

Circular horoscopes are a late invention. Medieval and renaissance
charts were square. But this is a minor point. More importantly,
astrologers really used astronomical information for horoscopes.
I have never heard of "casting stones" to establish the positions
of the planets - but if this practice existed, it was certainly not
proper or common. Historical horoscopes are quite precise
astronomically and often served as the only source for the date
of birth (the chart of Copernicus comes to mind as a major example).

> What was going on the sky wasn't all that relevant to astrologers. The
> position of the planets, sun, and moon, relative to the houses of the zodiac
> wasn't effected by "transitory phenomena" such as comments, and previously
> unobserved stars (nova) where not of much significance either, because they
> didn't change the planets or the houses - the only relevant things to
> astrologers.

Comets were always of great importance to astrologers - many 
of the iudicia published by professors of medieval universities
concentrated on the influence of comets on worldly matters
and were issued immediately after a comet had been observed.

The "novae" is a different matter. As Rene has already pointed out, 
they created a break in the medieval (Aristotelian) world-view.
The spheres of heaven had been unchangeable, governed by
different laws than our sublunar world - and a new star which
suddenly appeared was as impossible as the Copernican model
of the solar system.

> To a medical man who wasn't an astrologer as such but rather someone who
> used astrology as a tool within his work, such things as nova and comets
> would be of even less relevance

Comets were usually a bad sign for humanity - predicting wars
and plagues, both of which would be of interest to physicians.
The distinction between astrologers "as such" and medical
practitioners is perhaps too modern for the times. They were
usually both as medicine was very closely connected with
astrology. Both Galenian and Paracelsian traditions used
astrology extensively.

> Hence (because I assume the vms to be a medical man's manual) I find it
> unlikely that any note of heavenly phenomena would be made in a manual for
> everyday use and reference.

But there may be notes of actual cases or typical cases, which
would of course record such information.

Otherwise I agree with your conclusions - and I think the 
T-O map argument is very important and convincing.

Best regards,

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