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Louise Hill Curth

Chapter 5 - Astrology and popular culture The divine and laudable Science of Astrology, is a Learning that teaches by the Natures, Motions, Configurations, Significations, and Influyences [sic] of the Heavens and Stars therein, how to judge of future Contingencies, or to predict natural Events.1 What we now refer to as astrology has played an important, albeit changing, role in Western society for over two millennia. For centuries, it was regarded as one of two parts of the science of the stars, with astronomy providing the theoretical foundation for

in English almanacs, astrology and popular medicine: 1550–1700
Louise Hill Curth

Chapter 6 - Astrology and physick No Man can reasonably deny, but that the whole Prognostick part of Physick is govern’d by Astrology; and those Physitians which follow Hippocrates and Galen, in making that their Principal refuge, do wisely and commendably.1 A s the previous chapter has shown, although almanac writers were forced to omit judicial astrology during periods of religious or political tension, natural astrology remained largely unaffected. Weather forecasts, for example, were clearly considered to be one of the ‘necessary thinges of Astrology

in English almanacs, astrology and popular medicine: 1550–1700
The authors
Louise Hill Curth

Chapter 3 - ‘Students of astrology and physick’: the authors No New-years-gifts [sic] have almanacks to give, Saving themselves to serve you while they live: Twelve solar months abroad they hop and fly, And then like Silk-worms (poor things!) must dye, Thus Individuals are quickly gone, But still the kind continues and runs on.1 A lthough the natural life span of an almanac is only a year, Keith Thomas has suggested that they provided readers with ‘a guide to daily action’ for that time.2 This chapter will look at the men and women who compiled such

in English almanacs, astrology and popular medicine: 1550–1700
Jane Ridder- Patrick

During the early modern period in Scotland, as in Europe and beyond, the concepts and symbolism of astrology were tightly woven into the prevailing world view. Astrology can be defined as any theory, practice or belief that draws inferences from, or parallels between, events and patterns in the sky and events and circumstances on earth. Its use of the sky – the ‘heavens’ in contemporary parlance – meant that it linked the supernatural and natural worlds. There was scarcely an aspect of contemporary life that astrology did not inform. Its imagery was found in

in The supernatural in early modern Scotland

Early modern almanacs have received relatively little academic attention over the years, despite being the first true form of British mass media. This book is about almanacs and popular medical beliefs and practices in early modern England. The focus is on the medical advice and information disseminated by these unique little booklets between 1550 and 1700. The earliest printed almanacs date from the late fifteenth century, and the booklets are still published at the present day. 'Ephemeral' literature, such as pamphlets, ballads and chapbooks, did especially well during this period, with English almanacs appearing in 'significant' numbers for the first time. The book discusses the readers of almanacs, points out a number of problems facing such an investigation. One of the most important channels for the spread of medical information was through the vast range of easily accessible literature. The book then provides an introduction to the genre of what might be called 'self-help' books, looking at the authors of almanacs and the people who actually purchased and read them. The various types of medical information and advice that almanacs contained are then discussed. The main components of commercial medicine were heavily advertised nostrums and other medical goods and services. The book also discusses health-care for animals in early modern England. Finally, it discusses the medical options available to animals in what is often referred to as 'pre-veterinary' medicine, and the foundation of the first London Veterinary College in 1791.

Supernatural beliefs have been vital to Scottish cultural development. In the early modern period, the Kirk played an all-important role in parish life, schooling the Scots on how to interpret the invisible world. Theologians and philosophers mused about the nature of God’s providence and the wiles of the Devil. Folk tradition peopled the landscape with fairies and nature spirits. The witch trials displayed the very real consequences of belief systems that would later be reframed as fantastical.

This book analyses the Scottish supernatural between about 1500 and 1800. Drawing together an international range of scholars with expertise in history, ethnology and literary studies, it explores the diverse ways in which Scots understood and experienced magical beings and extraordinary events. There are chapters on trance experiences, spirit-guides, angels, preaching on the supernatural, political prophecies, providence, astrology, Second Sight and the Enlightenment’s encounter with the paganism of classical antiquity. The book’s historical material is framed by two literary chapters: one on the ‘elrich’ supernatural in the poetry of the early sixteenth century, and one on the political supernatural in the poetry of the eighteenth century.

Overall, the book examines the cultural function of supernatural beliefs, and assesses how these beliefs evolved amid the upheaval of the Reformation, political and religious revolution, the emergence of the Enlightenment and the beginnings of romanticism.

Abstract only
Louise Hill Curth

some degree, of academic interest, this is the first study that has examined the very important relationship between them. Since their format and content will be discussed in length in later chapters, it is sufficient to provide a very short definition of almanacs in this introduction. Simply put, almanacs were cheap, annual publications that contained ‘tables of the astronomical and astrological events of the coming year: the movements and conjunctions of the planets and stars in the zodiac and details of eclipse’.2 However, most early modern editions also

in English almanacs, astrology and popular medicine: 1550–1700
Louise Hill Curth

Chapter 2 - The genre of almanacs An Almanack be both small of Price and Volume, and yearly transmitted to the most remote parts of every Nation; and what I design of this kind shall be both short and plain, fitted to the meanest understanding and only treat of one particular Subject in one year and therefore will be the more easily often read and borne in remembrance (then larger Volumes, which at once treat a variety of Subjects).1 T he subject that John Whalley refers to in his almanac of 1699 is what modern readers would call astrology, referring to the

in English almanacs, astrology and popular medicine: 1550–1700
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Belief and agency in wartime
Lucy Noakes

of complementary and alternative belief systems. Heterodox beliefs co-existed with, and were • 101 • Dying for the nation often intermeshed with, a predominantly Christian public culture. In this ‘promiscuous eclecticism’, as Michael Snape and Stephen Parker have termed it, spiritualism consoled many with its promise of continued contact with the dead, and organisations like the Theosophical Society offered an alternate world view and philosophy that in many ways preceded the ‘new age’ movements of the 1960s.3 Astrology had gained a new following and wider

in Dying for the nation
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Real-life observation versus literary convention
S. H. Rigby

literary conventions and intellectual traditions which inform the presentation of the pilgrims and characters of the Canterbury Tales ? Firstly, Chaucer’s accounts of the pilgrims are often couched in terms of the stock ‘scientific’ stereotypes of his day and thus describe individuals in terms of the attributes thought appropriate to their age, astrological character and physiological make-up. Medieval

in Chaucer in context