A workshop on medieval astronomy organised by the School of Histories and Humanities.
The translations of Ptolemy’s Almagest into Latin during the twelfth century have traditionally been framed as one of the key episodes in the broader history of medieval science, one which ensured that European astronomy developed under a Ptolemaic paradigm until the rise of Copernican planetary theory in the sixteenth century. At the same time, historians have long been aware that medieval Europeans had a range of alternatives to Ptolemy at their disposal, from circumsolar orbits to homocentric planetary models, while also operating with various modifications to ‘orthodox’ Ptolemaic theory, such as non-linear theories of precession. The goal of this workshop is to expand and add nuance to our understanding of these non-Ptolemaic strands in medieval Latin astronomy and of the ways in which alternative models of the heavens coexisted, interacted, or conflicted with the Ptolemaic tradition. It spotlights non-Ptolemaic descriptions of the material heavens documented from any period of the Latin Middle Ages.