The medieval ecclesiastical calendar rested on the foundation of two interlocking calendrical cycles, which were represented by the Julian calendar, with its 28-year cycle of weekdays, and by a 19-year cycle of ‘epacts’ for tracking the phases of the Moon. Monks and clerics who sought to learn more about the scientific background of these cycles, or simply to familiarize themselves with their use, could do so by turning to books Continue reading
Our next Ordered Universe symposium, the eighth under the aegis of our current funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and 24th overall in a series stretching now over a decade, takes place 13-16 May, at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincon. It has been a fascinating journey, and from tomorrow, we broach the two treatises remaining for all of Grosseteste’s shorter scientific works to have been edited, translated, and patiently and collaboratively read. On Lines, Angles, and Shapes, and On the Nature of Places, brings the canon to its completion, with reading on-going for On the Movement of Celestial Bodies, and a final read-through of On Bodily Motion and Light. Two symposia remain for our current sequence which will revise the latest treatises and revist On Colour and On the Rainbow.
The programme for the symposium is available for downloand here and online:
It is a great pleasure to be back at Bishop Grosseteste University. BGU has been a fabulous partner, supporter, and advocate for the Ordered Universe project, principally through the energy and tremendous good offices of Dr Jack Cunningham. We will look forwad to the hospitality and welcome at BGU, and getting on to the most stimulating experience of collaborative reading and exploring the world of early 13th century science.
Next week, Grosseteste scholars from a wide radius will make straight lines for Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University, converging to concentrate our efforts on unpicking Grosseteste’s understanding of movement and change in supercelestial and sublunary bodies, and the geometric principles governing how the former influence the latter. We will read four treatises together: On the Movement of Supercelestial Bodies, On Lines, Angles, and Shapes, and On the Nature of Places, all edited by Cecilia Panti, and On Bodily Movement and On Light, edited by Neil Lewis.
These treatises approach a complex set of questions from different angles: at the heart of all of them is the search for order in the universe, that is, for the principles that can make an ever-changing world intelligible. On the Movement of Supercelestial Bodies draws heavily on Averroes to explain and account for the unchanging circular movement of the heavenly spheres, and how this movement can be caused by an unmoving ultimate mover. On Bodily Movement and On Light seeks a unifying factor of all bodily movement, and finds it in light. In this way, the rectilinear and changing movements of sublunary bodies can be linked to the unchanging movements of the luminous bodies of the heavens. On Lines, Angles, and Shapes provides an account of the geometric principles according to which heavenly bodies exert causal influence on the world below, while its companion treatise On the Nature of Places applies these principles to explain how the causal influence of the heavens has different effects in different places on earth. Reading these treatises together will allow us to penetrate more deeply into the ways Grosseteste understood the order that governed and connected the supercelestial and sublunary realms.
The team are deeply grateful to Cecilia and Neil for preparing new and improved editions of these texts, and to Jack Cunningham and BGU for hosting us us in a place of such a congenial nature. We are greatly looking forward to intense and fruitful days of reading, discussion, and companionship.
Our next project symposium takes place in Lincoln, and we’re delighted to be back in the convivial surroundings of Bishop Grosseteste University, hosted by Jack Cunningham and the BGU Ordered Universe chapter. As part of the symposium, which features Grosseteste’s treatise On Lines and Angles, On the Nature of Places, alongside On the Supercelestial Motions and On Bodily Motion and Light, we have a public lecture on Grosseteste’s cosmology and its implications for understanding of the world. The three Continue reading
Giles Gasper (Durham University) will be giving a talk later today to the Interdisciplinary Medieval and Renaissance Seminer at University College, London, 6.15-7.15 on ‘The Scientific Works of Robert Grosseteste’. Giles will be talking about the work of the Ordered Universe project, its collaborative research methods, and larger questions concerning the whole corpus of scientific works produced by Grosseteste c. 1195-c.1230. Many thanks to Jack Ford for the invitation.
A new publication from Ordered Universe science colleagues Josh Harvey, Hannah Smithson and Rebekah White, inspired, in its first stages, by the collaborative reading of Grosseteste’s On the Generation of Sounds, and its emphases on different types of motion, and the relation of written letters to the shape of the vocal tract in voicing the letter. ‘Hand-Foot Coupling: An Advantage for Crossed Legs‘ is published in Perception, and makes fascinating reading.
Zenith playing on the interior of St James’s Church in Poole. It takes inspiration from medieval astronomy, Islamicate and European, and the notion of the zenith, a point directly above a particular location – the ‘zenith of the head’ as medieval authors put it, Continue reading
The Light Up Poole Festival launched, quite literally, in a blaze of collective light on 21st February, and closes tonight, on the 23rd February. Of the 24 installations, 2, from the Projection Studio, were conceived and developed in partnership with Ordered Universe research. In this case it’s the cosmological vision and astronomical writings of Robert Grosseteste that provided the inspiration. Horizon, premiered at Continue reading