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Author Topic: THE RENAISSANCE  (Read 4097 times)
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« Reply #135 on: May 23, 2009, 08:50:21 pm »

Another use of astrology emphasized in the 1300s and 1400s was in weather forecasting.

The meteorologists of the Middle Ages observed astronomical tables rather than barometric pressure; with agriculture playing so important a part in national economies, it was natural that astrologers should turn their attention to weather forecasting - the prediction of fine weather, storms, rain or flood.

One of the earliest English astrological meteorologists was one Robert of York, a friar who lived in the first half of the 14th century (he may have died of the plague in 1345).

Robert seems to have published, at York in 1325, a work on weather prediction into which a great deal of original thought had gone; after a long preamble about the nature of the four elements and their relationship to terrestrial weather, he provides rules for predicting rain, frost, hail, snow, thunder, wind and tides, and for good measure earthquake, pestilence, wars and rebellions.

William Merlee, or Morley, a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and a Lincolnshire rector (who died in 1347) was not only an astrological weather forecaster, but is the first Englishman of whom we hear who kept a detailed record of the weather (over seven years). Using these records, he compiled a discourse on meteorology which went into twelve chapters, in which he not only discusses the signs of good or bad weather but interprets them. It is an intensely empirical work, and Merlee makes use not only of his own observations, but those of farmers, seamen, and others depending on the weather.

At least one continental European produced a parallel study: Enno of Wurzburg published a very similar work during which he shows how he was able to forecast heavy snows, storms, high winds and other phenomena.   
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