16th -19th May 2017: ‘Below the Moon: Robert Grosseteste’s De cometis and De impressionibus elementorum‘.
Pembroke College, University of Oxford
The symposium provides the first collaborative reading of Grosseteste’s treatises On Comets and On the Impressions of the Elements. The first treatise may contain a reference to Halley’s Comet in 1222, which dates the work to the same period. With no obvious knowledge shown of Aristotle’s Meteorology this fits with the chronology of Grosseteste’s treatises with which we are working. Grosseteste shows how comets are sub-lunary phenomena, rather than stars, and is still working with reference to astrology and alchemy. On the Impressions of the Elements marks an important change in thought, however. Light and the activity of light are used to explain meteorological occurrences, now with knowledge of Aristotle’s main works in this area. The symposium will include a public lecture and forum.