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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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Kings and Their Heavens

Kings and Their Heavens

The Ceremonious and the Negligent

(p.105) 4 Kings and Their Heavens
A Kingdom of Stargazers

Michael A. Ryan

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the extent to which the interest in prophecy and the occult intersected with the construction of kingship, specifically in the Crown of Aragon. It focuses on two fourteenth-century kings: Pere el Ceremoniós, the Ceremonious (r. 1336–1387), and Joan el Caçador, the Hunter (r. 1387–1396). The starkly divergent characters and regnal styles of these two late medieval count-kings, and their approaches to astrology and the occult, highlight the liminal and shifting status of these disciplines, as well as their intersection with notions about these kings' construction of regnal strength. Both Pere and Joan were interested in astrology, divination, and magic. Yet because Pere was a strong king, whereas Joan was weak, Pere was able to indulge in sidereal and occult proclivities with relative impunity, but Joan was subject to intense scrutiny and criticism for engaging with the same pastimes.

Keywords:   prophecy, occult, Crown of Aragon, kinship, kings, Pere el Ceremoniós, Joan el Caçador

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