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HoS Advent Calendar 2016

Byzantine Diagram of Planetary Aspects

A sixteenth-century copy of a Byzantine diagram showing the basic astrological configurations of the planets: “Table of the whole circle of the 12 zodiac signs and how it is divided into aspects.”[1] The table gives the degrees between the planets in each aspect, the symbol used to indicate that arrangement, and the distance in signs […]

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HoS Advent Calendar 2016

A Byzantine Diagram of the Cosmos

This diagram represents the geocentric cosmos, with the earth (γῆ) at the center, surrounded by spheres of the Moon (σελήν), Mercury (ἐρμῆς), Venus (ἀφροδίτη), the sun, Mars (ἄρης), Jupiter (ζεύς), and Saturn (κρόνος).[1] An incomplete ring for the signs of the zodiac encircles the planetary spheres—only the symbol for Aries was added. Finally, the names […]

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Research

Images of Byzantium: Nicephorus Gregoras’s “On the Construction and Origin of the Astrolabe”

In 1498 Giorgio Valla published a Latin excerpt from Nicephorus Gregoras’s treatise “On the Construction and Origin of the Astrolabe.” Despite appearing as the fifth tract in Valla’s compendium, which included other Byzantine and Greek authors, Gregoras’s text quickly became a standard authority amongst scholars in 16th-century Europe. Authors such as Johannes Schöner and Peter […]

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Research

Nikephoros Gregoras and Byzantine Science

In March I am talking on the Byzantine polymath Nikephoros Gregoras and his efforts to establish his scientific authority. In “Empiricism, Prediction, and Instruments: The Creation of Expertise in 14th-Century Constantinople” I will examine the ways that Gregoras tried to distinguish his own expertise by grounding it in precise, empirical predictions and his command of […]