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Medieval Meteorology
Forecasting the Weather from Aristotle to the Almanac

$28.99 (P)

  • Date Published: January 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108406000

$ 28.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The practice of weather forecasting underwent a crucial transformation in the Middle Ages. Exploring how scientifically-based meteorology spread and flourished from c.700–c.1600, this study reveals the dramatic changes in forecasting and how the new science of 'astro-meteorology' developed. Both narrower and more practical in its approach than earlier forms of meteorology, this new science claimed to deliver weather forecasts for months and even years ahead, on the premise that weather is caused by the atmospheric effects of the planets and stars, and mediated by local and seasonal climatic conditions. Anne Lawrence-Mathers explores how these forecasts were made and explains the growing practice of recording actual weather. These records were used to support forecasting practices, and their popularity grew from the fourteenth century onwards. Essential reading for anyone interested in medieval science, Medieval Meteorology demonstrates that the roots of scientific forecasting are much deeper than is usually recognized.

    • Places the history of meteorology and weather-forecasting within the broader social and cultural context of medieval Europe
    • Shows how astronomy, astrology and Christian teaching were brought together in order to make annual forecasts for the benefit of society
    • Presents examples of the procedures used in making medieval, astro-meteorological weather forecasts alongside actual weather records for comparison
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A wonderful, wide-ranging, and comprehensive study of a subject both ubiquitous and particular; the weather. Medieval Meteorology takes a broadly chronological approach in a wide sweep from the ancient world to the end of the European Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. The continuities from ancient to medieval understanding of the subject are convincingly shown, alongside the critical difference brought about by the reception of works by Islamicate authors from the twelfth century onwards. There is no better place to start, for specialist scholars or general readers. Conveyed in an accessible manner, it is no less formidable in its learning for ease of style and persuasive arguments. Pick up and read.' Giles Gasper, Durham University

    'In this trail-blazing study, Anne Lawrence-Mathers demonstrates how 'astro-meteorology' emerged as an innovative form of rational weather prognostication out of the medieval convergence of classical, Arab-Islamic and folk knowledge. Her account of astro-meteorology's quest for precise and timely weather forecasting constitutes a deeply significant, and hitherto untold, chapter in the history of European scientific culture.' Faith Wallis, McGill University, Montreal

    ‘This excellent study deserves the attention of historians of science and medievalists.’ R. E. Winn, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108406000
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Re-creating meteorology in the early Middle Ages: Isidore and Bede
    2. Meteorology, weather forecasting and the early-medieval Renaissance of astronomy
    3. Exploratory encounters with the work of Arab astronomers and meteorologists
    4. Meteorology, the new science of the stars, and the rise of weather forecasting
    5. The contested rise of astro-meteorology
    6. Applying the science of astro-meteorology
    7. Astro-meteorology and mechanisation
    8. Weather forecasting and the impact of print

  • Author

    Anne Lawrence-Mathers, University of Reading
    Anne Lawrence-Mathers is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. Specializing in the history of medieval magic, she is the author of The True History of Merlin the Magician (2012) and co-author of Magic and Medieval Society (2014) with Caroline Escobar-Vargas.

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