GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2004-03 > 1079856485
From: (Nicholas Whyte)
Subject: Re: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Lord and Lady
Date: 21 Mar 2004 00:08:05 -0800
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <hF37c.117696$Wa.email@example.com>
Peter Stewart <> wrote in message news:<hF37c.117696$>...
> Nicholas Whyte wrote:
> > (originally posted to my livejournal at:
> > http://www.livejournal.com/users/nhw/71238.html )
> > Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady ed. Bonnie Wheeler and John Carmi
> > Parsons.
> > Eleanor of Aquitaine is perhaps the most fascinating character of the
> > 12th century; first married at thirteen, she divorced King Louis VII
> > of France to marry the future King Henry II or England. Doing my M
> > Phil back in 1991 I discovered a medieval horoscope apparently cast
> > for her exact date of birth, 14 December 1123, which is otherwise
> > unrecorded.
> Where did you find this document? Can you tell us what you concluded
> about its date and provenance?
It's part of a longer text attributed to Roger of Hereford whose
incipit is "Quoniam circa tria sit omnis astronomica consideratio...",
often found together with an introductory text whose incipit is
"Quoniam regulas artis astronomice iudicandi...". The actual horoscope
section is included in two Cambridge MSS and five Oxford MSS, most of
which date from the 14th century. However the author is generally
thought to have lived in the late 12th century; this is supported by
one date of 1176 in his first book, a dedication from a better-dated
contemporary, and likely contemporary references in official records.
In my view it's also supported by the relatively unsophisticated
understanding of Islamic astronomical and astrological lore the author
displays, though of course he was at the cutting edge in his time.
I interpreted the horoscope as a "worked example" at the end of an
astrological handbook; it's not explicitly described as Eleanor's, but
the likely date of the planetary configuration on 14 December 1123,
combined with the interpretation of the horoscope as being that of a
mother who will go on a journey to meet a king, who will not receive
her well but she will nonetheless prevail, seemed to me to point to a
likely identification. I can't think of any other woman born in 1123
or thereabouts, still living in England at the end of the twelfth
century, and hobnobbing with royalty. Though I'd be interested to know
if there are other possible candidates.
The M Phil thesis (a product of my youth, it will need a certain
amount of fixing up before I could consider real publication, and I'm
no longer a medievalist) is on my website at
http://explorers.whyte.com/roger.htm - have a look if you like.
my real email address is explorers at whyte dot com
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