Nature, Knowledge, and Politics in the Holy Roman Empire
For Emperor Maximilian I (1493-1519) astrology was a powerful political instrument that allowed him to use knowledge about the natural world (what we would call science) as guide and justification for political action. The scientific experts who gathered around Maximilian at his court disseminated a pro-imperial message through learned and popular media in their efforts to reach the widest possible audiences. We see in Maximilian a shrewd political actor who understood the power of scientific knowledge to bolster his image in the eyes of his supporters and to combat the hostility of his detractors. Plus ça change.