Heaven and Earth in the Middle Ages: The Physical World Before Columbus

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Boydell Press, Jan 1, 1996 - History - 164 pages
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What were the ideas held by medieval man concerning the size and shape of the earth? How many planets were there, and of what material was the universe constructed? What was the relationship between the sky and Heaven? How were snow, thunderstorms and comets explained? In this fascinating book Dr Simek shows that though nature was thought to be permeated by the will of God, there were numerous explanations for unknown phenomena, from the simple theories of the early middle ages to the more sophisticated ideas of the centres of learned scholasticism in Paris and Oxford. He presents a cross-section of the medieval knowledge of the physical world as deliberated and discussed by authors from the 9th to the 15th centuries. He touches on fields as diverse as astronomy, geography, physics, botany and chemistry, and shows how medieval knowledge combined `scientific' explanations with others from popular mythology and folklore. RUDOLF SIMEKis Professor of Medieval German and Scandinavian Literature at the University of Bonn in Germany.

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