Research Project


Astrology and Prophecy. Genesis and purposes of the unedited Liber Horoscopus and of its anonymous Commentary (first decade XIV Century).

Prof. Dr. Gian Luca Potestà

The Liber Horoscopus is a still unedited Latin text, attributed to the unknown “Dandalus of Lerida”. In the three manuscripts known to date, the text is accompanied by a commentary, which was written only a few years later, and which was probably the work of Arnold of Villanova.

Both the text and the commentary have already been investigated by a number of historians (especially H. Grundmann, R. E. Lerner, and M. Kaup), but the main questions remain open: their nature, their authors, their aims and diffusion.

The planned research will clarify the nature of the Horoscopus, and the relationship between the text and the commentary. The Horoscopus attempts to provide an astrological explanation of the negative evolution of the Papacy and the Church of the previous 30 years, connecting this phase (from 1279) with the influence of Saturn on ecclesiastical life and institutions.

The project will clarify the sources of the work (text and commentary), with a special focus on the question of the enigmatic astrological images that are presupposed. Furthermore, it will delve into the historical value and significance of their reports (revealing some hitherto unknown information) about the dramatic period between the election of Celestin V, his renunciation and the controversial reign of Boniface VIII: “Dandalus” and Arnaldus shed new light on this period and especially on the persecution borne by the Spiritual Franciscans.

In general, the research aims to explain how the judgement of the present and the prediction of the future are linked by a complicated scheme that claims to be authoritative due to its scientific basis.

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