The Medieval Cosmos: Living with the Sky in the Middle Ages
Saturday 9 April, 2016
This Study Day explores four key ways in which people in the European Middle Ages aimed to live in harmony with the cosmos. We will examine four key areas: Psychology, Architecture, Politics and Art.
Time: 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
UWTSD London Campus, Winchester House
11 Cranmer Rd, London SW9 6EJ
Please note: there is no access to the building from Cranmer Road. For directions to the venue see here.
Registration: Registration is now closed
9:30 - 9:55 am: Welcome tea or coffee
9:55 - 10:00 am: Welcome
10 am - 11.10 am: Dr Nicholas Campion
Psychology: The Discovery of the Self in the Middle Ages
Many scholars think that the Self was discovered in the late nineteenth century. Some think it was discovered in the Renaissance. But it was in the thirteenth century that the translation of astrological texts from Arabic caused a crisis in the European mind. This revolutionary new material suggested that the soul was controlled by the stars and planets, posing a radical challenge to the Church. This talk will explore the solution to this problem, by which individual freedom was asserted and the psyche was freed from astrological influence.
11.10 am - 11:30 am: Coffee Break
11.30 am - 12:45 pm: Dr Darrelyn Gunzburg
Architecture: Seeing Architecture Through Medieval Eyes
Much of the art and architecture of the medieval Christian west rested upon two great pillars of thought - Christian Platonism and Aristotle's Cosmos. In this session we will discover the ways it is possible to see the medieval cosmos when looking at architecture of the medieval period. Specifically it will focus on the influence of the sky on the nature of the building, from religious buildings such as Chartres Cathedral, to public monuments such as the Fontana Maggiore of Perugia.
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch. There is a place to eat lunch in the lecture room area. Bring your own lunch or use one of the cafes close to the campus.
2:00 pm - 3.10 pm: Dr Nicholas Campion
Politics: Jupiter-Saturn cycles and mundane charts
How were the stars and planets used to manage history and politics? The study of 'Revolutions', or mundane astrology, was frequently key to the management of the medieval state. This talk will look at some of the key methods and assumptions which astrologers used to predict the future and, hopefully, live in harmony with cosmic cycles. We will also explore a couple of enigmatic horoscopes cast to examine the futures of two English Kings.
3:10 - 3:30 pm: Coffee Break
3:30 - 4:30 pm: Dr Darrelyn Gunzburg
Art: Seeing Art Through Medieval Eyes
Medieval art was created in a team, a combination of minds that included the patron, the artist, and the adviser. In this session we will focus on the imagined spectator, the person whose point of view is represented by the art and thus whose perspective can be read in its contents. That perspective helps us to understand the medieval world view and its moral quality.
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