• Paola Zambelli
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 135)


The Speculum astronomiae is relevant to the scientific and philosophical history of the Latin Schools in the thirteenth century. It illustrates the totality of material in Latin translation available during Albertus’s lifetime and it could only have been written by a person who had access either to an exceptionally rich library or to a very wide-ranging network of bibliographical data. In the first case, Richard de Fournival’s library, or at least his Biblionomia,come to mind; and for the second, we must imagine the collaboration of many people who sent incipits and descriptions of astronomical and astrological manuscripts from various Dominican convents.


Thirteenth Century Literary Tradition Latin Translation Philosophical History Encyclopedia Entry 
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  1. 1.
    Cf above ch. 1 n. 2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    O. Pedersen, `The Origins of the Theorica planetarum’, Journal of the History of Astronomy, XII, 1981, pp. 113–123.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. J. Toomer, s. v. `Campanus’, in Dictionnary of Scientific Biograpy, III, New York 1971, p. 27: “He had a gift for clear and plain exposition. But although he had a good under¬standing of his material and made few errors, he can hardly be called an original or cre¬ative scientist. His philosophical position was an unreflective Aristotelianism; his math¬ematics and cosmology were equally conventional for his time. His talent was for pre¬senting the work of others in a generally intelligible form. As such, Campanus was a writer of considerable influence”; “the popularization of the idea of the planetary equatorium [chwr(133)] is also Campanus’ strongest claim to originality”.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See the opening paper of the 8th International Congress of the SIEPM (Helsinki,1987) Gregory T., `Forme di conoscenza e ideali di sapere nella cultura medievale’, Giornale critico della filosofia italiana, LXVII (LXIX), 1988, pp. 37 ff.: “Non a caso i problemi cruciali dell’astrologia coincidono con quelli della teologia, a cominciare dalla conciliazio¬ne fra necessità e libero arbitrio, fra l’inflessibile moto dei cieli e la realtà contingentechwr(133) Con molta chiarezza l’autore dello Speculum richiama l’antico problema teologico: `Et fortassis attingentius intuenti, eadem aut saltem similis genere est ista dubitatio ei dubi¬tationi, quae est de divina providentia; nam in his quae operatur dominus per caelum, nihil aliud est caeli significatio quam divina providentiachwr(133)Unde in libro universitatischwr(133)po¬tuit figurare, si voluit, quod sciebat; quod si fecit tunc eadem est determinatio de corn¬possibilitate liberi arbitrii cum divina providentia et cum interrogations significatione. Si ergo divinam providentiam stare cum libero arbitrio annullari non possit, neque annulla¬bitur quin stet magisterium interrogationum cum eo.’ [XIV/82–95] Del resto tutti i teologi devono fare i conti con l’astrologia, posto the essa rappresenta per tutti — dopo l’acquisizione del sistema aristotelico — la coerente applicazione di una Legge fisica uni¬versalmente accettata, la causalità dei cieli sul mondo sublunare (`certum est per Aristo¬telem — ricordava Bacone — quod caelum non solum est causa universalis, sed particularis omnium rerum inferiorum’): di qui le discussioni sui condizionamenti fisiologici del libero arbitrio, la funzione degli angeli, motori dei cieli, nel corso della storia, la difficile distin zione fra prevision astrologica e profezia. I quesiti del generale dell’ordine domenicano Giovanni da Vercelli a Roberto Kilwardby e a Tommaso d’Aquino [nonché ad Alberto] sono un tipico esempio dei problemi posti al teologo dalla fisica peripatetica”.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    K. A. Nowotny, `Einleitung’, in H. C. Agrippa, De occulta philosophia, hg. u. erläutert v. K. A. Nowotny, Graz 1967, p. 422, where he mantainst that Agrippa has written “kein erschöpfendes Handbuch oder eine Sammlung von incipits [chwr(133)] wie Albertus Magnus [in dem Speculum astronomiae und in dem Libellus de alchimia], sondern ein Essay über den Sinn der Sache”.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    P. Hossfeld, `Die Arbeitsweise des Albertus Magnus in seinen naturphilosophischen Schriften’, in Albertus Magnus Doctor universalis cit., p. 201; cf. Id., `Albertus Magnus über die Natur des geographischen Orts’, Zeitschrift far Religions-und Geistesgeschichte, XXX, 1978, p. 107 on the sources of the De causis proprietatibus elementorum and of the De natura loci.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Id., `Die Arbeitsweise’ cit., p. 194.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    G. Hissette, review of Speculum astronomiae, Bulletin de théologie ancienne et médiévale, XII, 1979, p. 484. See also the most recent synthesis by A. de Libera, Albert le Grand et la philosophie, Paris, Vrin, 1990, pp. 22 ff. He lists “oeuvres et éditions” (p. 18 ff.) “en détaillant seulement le principal et l’autenthique”, but contradictory to this program he feels himself surprisingly obliged to included in this short list the Speculum astronomiae as a “Pseudo-Albert”, p. 12 ff. is mainly anecdotical and never considers the authenthical texts existing both on magic and — more often — on astrology. “L’homme [Albert] connaissait bien les savoir arabes, notamment l’astrologie et [sic] l’alchimie, encore devait-il beaucoup aux livres, et il faut prendre garde que ce lecteur infatigable n’a sans doute pas, autant que l’on imagine, manié lui-même les fioles, de jous de mouron, d’euphorbe ou de joubarbe, l’urine de garçon vierge, l’eau de fleurs de fève et les écailles d’ablette”: which is too much according the results of my research.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    B. Barker Price, `The Physical Astronomy and Astrology of Albertus Magnus’ cit., p. 179.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Our edition of the Speculum, here reproduced with an English translation, considerably improves the Jammy-Borgnet text by the use of six mss. and the examination of all others in a series of examples chosen at crucial points in the text. Concerning the method of this edition, I will not argue now with some negative reviewers, as were the late F. Weisheipl, Prof.Hissette and Prof. Pedersen. Cf the precise answer given to Weisheipl’s remarks by S. Caroti- S. Zamponi, `Note’, Annali dell’Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza di Firenze, V /2, 1980, pp. 111–117.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Zambelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FilosofiaUniversitá di FirenzeItaly

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