The Cosmos in Your Hand: A Note on Regiomontanus's Astrological Interests

Centaurus 64 (2):361-396 (2022)
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Abstract

Johannes Müller von Königsberg (1436-1476), better known as Regiomontanus, is widely considered as the most influential astronomer and mathematician of 15th-century Europe. He was active as an astrologer and deemed astrology to be the queen of mathematical sciences. Despite this, Regiomontanus's astrological activity has yet to be fully explored. A brief examination of Regiomontanus's manuscripts shows that his astrological interests were accompanied by interests in the arts and in methods of prognostication. This article studies an unconventional astrological-chiromantical text, whose relevance is threefold: a) it sheds new light on Regiomontanus's astrological interests; b) it enriches our knowledge of Regiomontanus's efforts to learn and understand Greek-Regiomontanus transcribed it into his own manuscript during his sojourn in Italy from 1460-1467; and c) it is the sole extant text in the Greek tradition that provides a system for prognostication from the study of a person's hand, the parts of which are considered as being under the domain of planets. The article provides an English translation of Regiomontanus's transcription, alongside a brief commentary, and studies the intellectual and historical context of that production through manuscript analysis.

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