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
Ordered Universe will be taking part in the 2019 Leeds International Congress, the largest forum for sharing research on the Middle Ages in Europe. The project has a lot to offer on the special conference theme of ‘Materialities’ so we proposed four sessions and a roundtable, all of which were accepted. The Ordered Universe activities will take place Continue reading
Fresh from the recent conference at Georgetown University, on the dynamic coupling of aspectus and affectus, the next Ordered Universe colloquium takes another theme close to Grosseteste’s heart: calendrical reform and its related subjects, time, astronomy, medicine, as well as the dating of Easter. The colloquium takes place next week on the 19th and 20th April, at All Souls College, University of Oxford. We will be taking a longer view of compotus in England, and the background to Grosseteste’s own characteristic contribution to the area, the Compotus correctorius. Principally the scholars gathering in Oxford will examine Durham Cathedral Manuscript Hunter 100, a computistical album from the early twelfth century. Investigating the antecedents, and the details of the compendium, allows different light to be shed onto the culture of medieval scientific investigation. Exploring both the texts and images, as well as the communities in and for which the manuscript was produced, the colloquium will provide an in-depth analysis. Other papers will broaden the scope, thinking about the implications of compotus texts from theological and societal perspectives, before ending with a full treatment and discussion of Grosseteste’s place in compotus studies, and the importance of the Compotus correctorius in his scientific canon. With experts including Faith Wallis, Eric Ramírez Weaver, Alfed Lohr and Philipp Nothaft, as well as Ordered Universe regulars, the programme looks exciting!
We are extremely grateful to All Souls College, and especially to Dr Philipp Nothaft for supporting the colloquium, financially and organisationally as to Durham University and Dr Rosalind Green in the same capacity.
Well, it has been about three weeks since the Being Human, National Festival of Humanities activities took place in Durham. Philipp Nothaft’s magnificent lecture on the dating of Easter (just before Advent, appropriately) on the 18th November, which attracted an audience of over 80 and is available in video form, began events. The lecture took place Continue reading
Today is the launch of Being Human! Ordered Universe Events start tomorrow, with the public talk by Philipp Nothaft (pictured above). Philipp is a graduate of the University of Munich, has been associated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University College London, and the Warburg Institute. He was appointed as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at All Soul’s College, University of Oxford, in 2015. We’re delighted that Philipp is able to give this talk – it forms his major research area. He explores Time, Astronomy/Astrology and Calendars in both medieval and early modern Europe, and across a fascinating and wide-ranging series of texts. Continue reading
Philipp Nothaft will deliver a public lecture on ‘Medieval Time Reckoning and the Dating of Easter’ at Durham Cathedral as part of the Being Human National Festival of the Humanities, 2016. Full details are on the poster above – please spread the word! Philipp is a world expert on medieval dating systems and the history of astronomy, and an important contributor to the Ordered Universe project. No better place to start the Durham events for the Being Human Festival.
From the Ordered Universe’s last symposium in Rome, April 2016, a short news report from Tor Vergata on the conference we held there. This was the first activity in a collaboration between Durham and Tor Vergata as well as being an occasions to hear four excellent papers on the subject of time. With our next symposium coming up in Durham at the end of the month this is a timely reminder of the range of our activities! Continue reading
As part of the Ordered Universe symposium in Rome, Cecilia Panti organised a half-day conference on Time and Time Reckoning in Medieval and Contemporary Scientific Perspectives. The occasion also marked the first event in a new collaboration between the Dipartimento di Studi Letterari, Filosofici e di Storia dell’Arte at Tor Vergata and the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Department of History, at Durham. Alongside the Ordered Universe team were colleagues from Tor Vergata. We were able to record some of the proceedings, and have included them here.
The four speakers are all regular Ordered Universe participants, and began with Anne Lawrence Mathers from the University of Reading, on Spheres, Rays and Sublunary Airs. Medieval weather, its prediction, connections to what might be termed magic, and the equally strong connections to the scientific endeavours of Grosseteste were among the subjects Anne raised: all highly relevant to the earlier deliberations on climes and astronomical observation.
Neil Lewis followed, with a full and detailed account of Grosseteste’s theory of time, as expressed in the Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics. Moving through Augustine and Aristotle, the nuanced position that Grosseteste came to about the present, in particular, was fascinating to have unfolded before us.
After a short break the final two papers. Philipp Nothaft gave us an in-depth account of the vexed issues of precession and trepidation in astronomical terms. This was the key point at issue for Grosseteste between Ptolemy and Aristotle, to which the solution appeared to lie in Thebit. Philipp showed why these issues were so problematic in the 13th century in particular.
Our final paper took the issue of time to the modern universe, and our contemporary understanding of its origins and its future. Richard Bower opened up the latest research from his galaxy modelling project, and the work of the Durham Institute of Computational Cosmology. The models are so accurate they can hoodwink observational astronomers.
A very stimulating afternoon, which both supported the symposium readings, and introduced the research of colleagues to each other and to the staff and students at Tor Vergata. More news on the Durham-Tor Vergata activities soon, but a great event to being with!
The Ordered Universe project enjoyed an excellent collaborative reading symposium in Rome at the beginning of this month, 4-8 April. Some 26 of the group gathered in the eternal city, under the local care of Cecilia Panti and her colleagues from Università di Rome, ‘Tor Vergata’, especially Clelia Crialesi. The symposium took place in the University of Notre Dame, Rome Global Gateway. We made full use of its excellent facilities, and were treated to a very hospitable welcome from the director, Professor Ted Cachey and events administrator Krista de Eleuterio. Continue reading