A Handbook of Renaissance Meteorology: With Particular Reference to Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature

A Handbook of Renaissance Meteorology: With Particular Reference to Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature

A Handbook of Renaissance Meteorology: With Particular Reference to Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature

A Handbook of Renaissance Meteorology: With Particular Reference to Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature

Excerpt

In accordance with Elizabethan usage the word "meteor" is used to cover all atmospheric phenomena; and therefore "meteorology," in terms of Elizabethan cosmology, deals with all mutations that occur in the region of Air between the earth's surface and the sphere of Fire. Until mid-seventeenth century this science was based on the natural philosophy of Aristotle, specifically his Meteorologica. Other strong influences affecting Renaissance concepts about meteors were the Holy Scriptures, classical mythology, and interrelated beliefs from astrology, magic, and folklore. My ruling purpose has been to provide a handy reference work which brings together all these ideas.

In reconstructing Elizabethan meteorology, I have begun with the authoritative scientific works best known in the period, such as Seneca Quaestiones naturales, Pliny Historia naturalis, Bartholomaeus ' De proprietatibus rerum as edited byStephen Batman, Du Bartas ' La Sepmaine, and William Fulke Goodly Gallery. For documentation I have relied mainly on books in English, since these obviously would have been most influential both in forming prevalent notions about meteors and in standardizing a vernacular vocabulary by which to express these notions.

I have taken at least first steps in determining Scriptural influences on meteorological concepts. In such matters I have found especially useful the work of Rabanus Maurus, the Biblical Postilla of Nicolas of Lyra, and the Protestant commentaries on Genesis by John Calvin, Gervase Babington, and Nicholas Gibbens.

When discussing meteorological ideas that derived from classical mythology, I have noted one or two passages from Greek and Latin literature which could have served as a source for Renaissance knowledge of the myth. Probably more influential than the classics themselves were such reference books as Boccaccio Genealogiae deorum gentilium, Cartari Le imagini de I dei degli antichi, and NatalisComes

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