Astrology in the Holy Roman Empire

My book manuscript, Nature, Knowledge and Politics in the Holy Roman Empire is the first study to explore interactions between science and politics at the Holy Roman Court during Maximilian’s reign. Maximilian’s court was arguably the most important court in early sixteenth-century Europe. His dynastic politics laid the foundations for what became the Austro-Hungarian empire and the Habsburg world empire, which spanned Iberia, much of northern Europe, and Spanish holdings in the New World. I argue that Maximilian used astrology and its technologies to justify his broad dynastic programs and invoked astrological methods and findings to guide his political actions. Not only did he thus convey his erudition to his courtly audiences, he also engaged publics across all social registers in a notable extension of what counted as political practice in early-modern Europe. In his program of political outreach that enlisted not merely the political elites who already possessed power but also popular audiences that extended into the lowest registers of society, Maximilian consistently operated under the assumption that astrology could communicate a message of Habsburg authority to the broadest possible audience.

You can download the prospectus here