• Markus Fierz


WHILE THE BELIEF in dreams and other omens was regarded by many to be mere superstition, astrology, in the sixteenth century, was a respectable science. Astrological predictions have, of course, always been questioned by individuals—be it for scientific or religious reasons—but at that time the critics were in the minority.


Heavenly Body Affectionate Tone Copernican Revolution Small Star Respectable Science 


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  1. 1.
    In the final paragraph of his De Interrogationibus libellus (first printed together with his In Cl. Ptolemaei de astrorum iudiciis etc., second edition, Basel, 1578) Cardano says: “Never predict anything, and under no condition, to an unjust man.” From this follows: “Never predict anything to an unknown person.”Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    In the preface to his commentary of Ptolemy’s Tttrabiblos, Opera V. Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thorndyke, op. cit. V, p. 244.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Margery Purver, The Royal Society (London, 1967), p. 31.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Thorndyke, op. cit., V, p. 419.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Aphorismorum astronomicorum Segmenta IV, p. 65 (Opera V).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Isaac Newton, Opera, ed. Samuel Horsely (London, 1785), volume V, p. 449.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Aphorismorum astronomicorum Segmenta I, p. 58 (Opera V).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ibid,. V, p. 53.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    See also the horoscope of Agrippa v. Nettesheim described above.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Petrarch did own Greek manuscripts, but he could not read them. See Heinrich Morf, “Die Bibliothek Petrarchas,” in Dichtung und Sprache der Romanen (Berlin, 1922).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Erasmus declined the cardinalate which was offered to him.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    De Vita propria, chapter 18, “Delectatio.” We would like to recall here that Rabelais, himself a physician and contemporary of Cardano, was obviously inspired by Pulci’s gigantic fantasies.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Fierz
    • 1
  1. 1.KüsnachtSwitzerland

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