View Full Version : Philosopher's game/historical astrology?

19-05-2003, 13:35
The book is titled "The Philosopher's Game: in Medieval and Renaissance Europe" by Ann E. Moyer. Some of this is alludes to the history of chess and a related astronomer's game. But is mostly about a historical game called Rithmomachia. Rithmomachia was useful to learn about an archiac style of medieval/renaissance math that might have also been useful for the astrology of the time, until about 1600. The book includes game rules.

It was mostly played as an alternative to dice and gambling vice games among clerics or at the studio/universities where Boethian math was useful. The dates of reference to the game was the eleventh to the sixteenth.

Has anyone come across art, games or poetry in researching historical astrology in the Renaissance? I come across references in Dante and Italian poets who had some classical training. I almost picked up a beautiful Du Berry's Book of Hours (spelling) in hopes there is some poetry or written translation about time and astrology in the book, to go along with the gorgeous paintings...but I didn't find anything.

19-05-2003, 20:53

That's extremely interesting - I must admit I don't know much about the period, especially from the Art/Literature point of view. However there does seem to be something of a renaissance (sorry about the pun) in interest in the writings of classical Astrologers and many of their works are coming back into print - especially the works of the 11th to 16th Century Arab Astrologers.

I do intend to do some reading in this area - when I've shifted my current backlog - so if I come across anything in my reading I'll let you know.

20-05-2003, 06:04
Astrology was the linchpin for most Renaissance philosophy actually. There are lots of extant works on it. Mostly the ones I know about refer to the Hermetic tradition of philosophy magic. However, I know there's more. There are beautiful prints in books showing the world and solar system as it was perceived at the time. Also, in several magic texts, there are the images for the decans (10 degree divisions of the signs) to be used for astrological talismans. These decan images were also painted on walls. I forget where specifically it was painted but the whole zodiac encircled someone's study.

Also, a lot of paintings at the time are allegories involving astrological concepts. Even if they don't specifically show planetary figures, they often involved the Greek gods and goddesses who were tied into astrology by obvious means (planetary names).

I can probably give you more. This is partially my area of expertise.

:) Kes