Astrology and Copernicus's early experiences in the world of Renaissance politics.

Geoffrey J Blumenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


During most of Copernicus’s life he was an inhabitant of political settings rather than scientific settings. His settings from 1492 to 1500 offered him a large amount of information about astrology. Most of Copernicus’s known significant contacts at the Jagiellonian University had expertise in astrology, in some cases at national level. Information was available to Copernicus about the inaccuracies and the difficulties of astrological practice as well as about a notably successful astrologer-patron relationship. The experience of astrological practice that was available to Copernicus in Bologna ranged from the benign to the potentially dangerous, and his departure from Bologna was contemporary with the threat of military reprisals against the town which appeared to show the incorrect outcome of the relevant prediction in Domenico Maria di Novara’s prognostication for 1500. After this date Copernicus no longer participated in roles in which prognostication was a duty, he generally inhabited locations that were less potentially dangerous than Bologna was in 1500, and while at some later points he was keen to interest astrologers in his astronomical work, astrology is completely absent from his own explanations of the reasons for his astronomical work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-115
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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