The calendar worked out by Bede remains essentially the one we still use today, yet the mathematical and scientific studies of the early medieval schools have been largely neglected in most discussions of the cultural and intellectual history of Latin Europe. These articles by Wesley Stevens are based on an unrivalled knowledge of the manuscript sources and provide a very different perspective, demonstrating the real vitality of this science in the early medieval West. Working from the original texts and diagrams, he identifies and explains mathematical reckonings and astronomical cycles by early Greek, Roman and Christian scholars. Through made for religious purposes, those early studies created a demand for standard arithmetic, geometry and astronomy, and this remained of often intense interest through into the 9th century, in the schools of Fulda and Reichenau. One paper here further sets out to correct much mis-information on the ideas of Isidore, Boniface and other church fathers; a second, revised especially for this volume, looks in detail at Bede’s scientific achievements, his theories of latitudes and tides, as well as his cosmology and computus.
Table of Contents
Contents: Cycles of time: Calendrical and astronomical reckonings in early science; Bede’s scientific achievement; The figure of the earth in Isidore’s De natura rerum; Scientific instruction in early insular schools; Sidereal time in Anglo-Saxon England; Fulda scribes at work. Bodleian Library manuscript Canonici miscellaneous 353; A ninth-century manuscript from Fulda: Canonici misc. 353, with three facsimiles; Introduction to Hrabani De computo liber; Compotistica et astronomica in the Fulda School; Walahfrid Strabo: a student at Fulda; Computus-Handschriften Walahfrid Strabos; Index.