The calendar worked out by Bede remains essentially the one we still use today, yet the mathematical and scientific studies of the early medieval schools have been largely neglected in most discussions of the cultural and intellectual history of Latin Europe. These articles by Wesley Stevens are based on an unrivalled knowledge of the manuscript sources and provide a very different perspective, demonstrating the real vitality of this science in the early medieval West. Working from the original texts and diagrams, he identifies and explains mathematical reckonings and astronomical cycles by early Greek, Roman and Christian scholars. Through made for religious purposes, those early studies created a demand for standard arithmetic, geometry and astronomy, and this remained of often intense interest through into the 9th century, in the schools of Fulda and Reichenau. One paper here further sets out to correct much mis-information on the ideas of Isidore, Boniface and other church fathers; a second, revised especially for this volume, looks in detail at Bede’s scientific achievements, his theories of latitudes and tides, as well as his cosmology and computus.
Contents: Cycles of time: Calendrical and astronomical reckonings in early science; Bede’s scientific achievement; The figure of the earth in Isidore’s De natura rerum; Scientific instruction in early insular schools; Sidereal time in Anglo-Saxon England; Fulda scribes at work. Bodleian Library manuscript Canonici miscellaneous 353; A ninth-century manuscript from Fulda: Canonici misc. 353, with three facsimiles; Introduction to Hrabani De computo liber; Compotistica et astronomica in the Fulda School; Walahfrid Strabo: a student at Fulda; Computus-Handschriften Walahfrid Strabos; Index.
The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.
The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.
Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource.
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