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A Kingdom of StargazersAstrology and Authority in the Late Medieval Crown of Aragon$
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Michael A. Ryan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449840

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449840.001.0001

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For Youths and Simpletons

For Youths and Simpletons

The Folly of Elite Astrology

(p.55) 2 For Youths and Simpletons
A Kingdom of Stargazers

Michael A. Ryan

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates the criticism of astrology and the occult arts in elite medieval venues—in particular, the university and the royal court. Critics of the occult arts have long railed against the purported credulity of simple people, arguing that they were easily duped or frightened by powerful and hidden knowledge. When this body of knowledge was applied to an environment rife with apocalyptic expectation, authorities argued that apprehension could easily turn to panic among the ignorant. The implication of such anti-occult rhetoric is that members of the intellectual, cultural, and secular elite should eschew disciplines like astrology or alchemy, lest they be perceived as juvenile, simple, or womanly, and thus undermine their own authority.

Keywords:   astrology, occult arts, university, royal court, intellectual elite, cultural elite, secular elite, anti-occult, alchemy

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