International Conference


Astrologers and their Clients in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

September 29–30, 2011


While the history of European astrology has received a great deal of scholarly attention over the past twenty years, very little is known about astrological practices themselves. The aim of the conference is to explore the various forms of interaction between astrologers and their clients, and more generally between astrology and society, in Western Europe from c. 1200 to 1700. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Who are the astrologers and what do they do? What are their role and status –at court, university and any other relevant place? What services do they offer? What are their sources and methods of working? How do they interpret horoscopes? Is there any limitation, whether technical or philosophical, in the range of questions they can answer?
  • Who are the clients? What are their motivations, expectations and concerns? To what extent did astrological counseling affect their personal and public life?
  • What is the reputation of astrology and astrologers among the general public? Why was astrology (apparently) more popular than other counseling practices? What is it that distinguishes a "good" from a "bad" astrologer?

The conference will end with a round table where the above-mentioned issues will be discussed.


Thursday, September, 2011
09:30 a.m. Welcome Address
10:00 a.m. Astrology in the Court and the University in Italy in the 13th Century
Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute, London)
10:45 a.m. Practice and counsel in Guido Bonatti
Benjamin Dykes (Independent Scholar, Minnesota, USA)
11:30 a.m. Coffee Break
12:00 p.m. The Archbishop and the Astrologers: A Robert de Mauvoisin's questio in 1316
Jean-Patrice Boudet (Université d’Orléans)
12:45 p.m. Lunch Break
2:45 p.m. Giovanni Villani and the Great Conjunction of 1345
Robert Hand (Catholic University of America, Washington DC)
3:30 p.m. Johannes Lichtenberger. Divination between Prophecy and Astrology
Wiebke Deimann (IKGF Erlangen)
4:15 p.m. Coffee Break
4:45 p.m. Astrology at Italian Renaissance Courts: Locating Clients, Investigating Practices, ca. 1450-1550
Monica Azzolini (University of Edinburgh)
5:30 p.m. The Life and Afterlife of Medieval English Booklets of Astrological Medicine
László Sándor Chardonnens (Universiteit Nijmegen)
6:15 p.m. End
Friday, September 30, 2011
09:30 a.m. Paul of Middelburg's use of the 'Mathesis' of Firmicus Maternus
Stephan Heilen (Universität Osnabrück)
10:15 a.m. Astrology and Politics in 16th-century Florence: Giuliano Ristori’s Extensive Judgment on Cosimo I's Nativity (1537)
Darrel Rutkin (Stanford University)
11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:30 a.m. The Judgement on the Nativity of Joannes Sillyers by Wilhelmus Misocacus (1566)
David Juste (University of Sydney; IKGF Visiting Fellow)
12:15 p.m. Johannes Kepler between two Emperors
Katrin Bauer (IKGF Erlangen)
1:00 p.m. Lunch Break
3:00 p.m. Round Table
4:30 p.m. End


Volkshochschule Erlangen: Historischer Saal
Friedrichstr. 19, 91054 Erlangen


Conference Flyer with programme (233 KB)