Schoner, 1545

An example of a nativity horoscope from De iudiciis natiuitatum libri tres. (Schoner, 1545)

It used to be a tradition to commission horoscopes based on nativity. Among the earliest and most important guides to natal astrology isThree Books of the Judgement of Nativities, a complete compendium of medieval and Renaissance horoscope lore. Its author, Johannes Schöner sought to promote astrology as a rigorous discipline that could be taught in universities. He played a significant role in the events that led up to the publishing of Copernicus' De revolutionibus.

Not everyone approved of the tradition. For example Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, an intellectual giant of the Italian Renaissance who aimed to conciliate religion and philosophy, wrote against the practice in his De astrologia disputationum. Pico’s Oration on the Dignity of Man, included in the same volume, is better known than any other philosophical text of the fifteenth century. Pico’s death was suspicious. It was rumoured that his own secretary had poisoned him.

Pico de Mirandola, 1557

De astrologia disputationum. (Pico de Mirandola, 1557)

Continue >