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Martianus Capella's Synopsis Of Astronomy In The Marriage Of Philology And Mercury And Its Major Carolingian Commentaries

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Chapter Summary

When John the Scot wrote his commentary on the nine books of Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (The Marriage of Philology and Mercury) the astronomy of De nuptiis had come to be the leading authority in its discipline. Capella divided his astronomia into two large sections of almost equal length, treating first the celestial framework and the fixed stars and secondly the seven planets. The planets clearly provided more lemmata than did the stars in Carolingian studies of Capellan astronomy. Martianus began his description of the individual planets with the Moon, a celestial body that clearly interested both him and the Carolingian commentators even more than the two planets that circled the Sun. Martianus had dealt with the bounded elongation of Mercury and Venus earlier in Book 8, and here he paid attention to the variety of their phenomena, of which solar elongation was only one part.

Keywords: astronomy; Carolingian commentators; Martianus Capella; Moon; planets; Sun; The Marriage of Philology and Mercury; Venus



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