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Carolingian Diagrams For Astronomy And Cosmology

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Chapter Summary

Diagrams are used in the textual space when the authors of the verbal texts prescribed them. We find this in the cases of Macrobius and Calcidius. In addition to the physical location of a diagram in a manuscript, we also consider in this chapter why a diagram appears in a specific place in the text. Subordinate to this we address the question of why a new diagram may replace a traditional one. The stability of diagrams depends upon a number of conditions. Diagrams do not have a single nature. Each diagram is hedged in by its history, its referents and its uses. Through teaching, the criticism and invention as well as the copying and correction of astronomical diagrams became essential and fundamental parts of the Carolingian revival and study of Roman astronomy and cosmology. In astronomy the diagram could often show a higher truth than words alone.

Keywords: astronomy; Carolingian diagrams; cosmology; manuscript



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