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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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To Condemn a King

To Condemn a King

The Inquisitor and the Notary

(p.124) 5 To Condemn a King
A Kingdom of Stargazers

Michael A. Ryan

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes two significant sources that evidence contemporary criticisms of King Joan's problematic intellectual interests. Two individuals—Nicolau Eymerich, the inquisitor general of the Crown of Aragon during the reign of King Joan; and Bernat Metge, the personal scribe to both King Joan and Queen Yolande de Bar—composed trenchant commentaries that allude to Joan's pastimes. Eymerich and Metge had different backgrounds and personalities, which colored their texts accordingly. Their two seemingly dissimilar texts provide an opportunity for modern scholars to analyze comparable perceptions of Pere III's son and successor to the throne, Joan. The principal theme that runs through these two works is the king's interest in divining the future, especially through astrological means, which both writers view as a vanity that imperiled the king's soul. A major difference between the two works is that Eymerich criticized the king in a seemingly detached, almost clinical manner, whereas Metge was more direct in his criticisms, having the king suffer explicitly for his actions.

Keywords:   King Joan, occult, Nicolau Eymerich, Crown of Aragon, Bernat Metge, divination, astrology

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