Girolamo Cardano was an Italian doctor, natural philosopher, and mathematician who became a best-selling author in Renaissance Europe. He was also a leading astrologer of his day, whose predictions won him access to some of the most powerful people in sixteenth-century Europe. In "Cardano's Cosmos," Anthony Grafton invites readers to follow this astrologer's extraordinary career and explore the art and discipline of astrology in the hands of a brilliant practitioner.
Renaissance astrologers predicted everything from the course of the future of humankind to the risks of a single investment, or even the weather. They analyzed the bodies and characters of countless clients, from rulers to criminals, and enjoyed widespread respect and patronage. This book traces Cardano's contentious career from his first astrological pamphlet through his rise to high-level consulting and his remarkable autobiographical works. Delving into astrological principles and practices, Grafton shows how Cardano and his contemporaries adapted the ancient art for publication and marketing in a new era of print media and changing science. He maps the context of market and human forces that shaped Cardano's practices--and the maneuvering that kept him at the top of a world rife with patronage, politics, and vengeful rivals.
Cardano's astrology, argues Grafton, was a profoundly empirical and highly influential art, one that was integral to the attempts of sixteenth-century scholars to understand their universe and themselves.
Cardano's Cosmos provides the pleasures characteristic of Anthony Grafton's other books devoted to the intellectual history of early modern Europe: As in Defenders of the Text and New World: Ancient Texts, we are regaled with donnish anecdotes and high-table factoids...Beyond doubt, Grafton is now our leading guide to the history of humane letters and scholarship between the Renaissance and the rise of Romanticism. In the end, Cardano's cosmos is nothing less than a world of wonders...[Grafton] shows us that the 16th-century thinkers found in astrology much of what we now look for in psychology, political theory, moral philosophy and economics--'fundamental tools for analyzing and controlling' our societies and ourselves. -- Michael Dirda Washington Post In Anthony Grafton's open-minded study Cardano's Cosmos, the question of how scientific Girolamo Cardano really was comes up often, giving the book much of its interest...Grafton's ambitious book aims to estimate the place of astrology in Renaissance society and perhaps to modify its place in our own. -- Alastair Fowler Times Literary Supplement [Cardano's Cosmos] accords Cardano all the respect the crusty Italian's industry and intelligence once warranted without question...[The] book delivers satisfaction on all...accounts...The combination of telling detail and intellectual sweep in Cardano's Cosmos is irresistible, and it shapes Grafton's book as Cardano once shaped his disparate empirical data into system. We do not accept the system now, but Cardano himself, as his biographer makes movingly clear, still 'deserves to be heard.' -- Ingrid D. Rowland New York Review of Books 20010222 In this eloquent study of a sixteenth-century astrologer who combined mathematics, astronomy, and medicine in counseling people at every level of society, Princeton University historian Grafton offers readers both a 'microscopic investigation of an individual's mind and a wide-angled survey of the millennial intellectual traditions which nourished it. Natural History A fine biography and a feast of intellectual history. amazon.com A fascinating picture of a very complicated man. -- Fernando Q. Gouvea Mathematical Association of America An ambitious young man from Milan, life-saving physician, traveler, mathematician, scholar of antiquity, 16th-century academic superstar and victim of the Inquisition, Girolamo Cardano embodied in one life much of what makes the Italian Renaissance fascinating to modern readers. The polymathic and resourceful Grafton places Cardano's life and works at the center of a detailed investigation of Renaissance astrologers, their work, their beliefs, their clients and their impact...Explaining how European readers regarded astrology and its rival arts, Grafton also relates the often ferociously personal intellectual battles that were fought. A writer of superb perspective and clarity, Grafton aims both at other historians and at lay readers. The latter will have to wade through some abstruse detail but will likely find the varied, informative, sometimes bizarre journey more than worth the effort. Publishers Weekly Grafton's book is an engaging scholarly study of Cardano's work on astrology, and its place in his life and society. Short Book Reviews
|The Master of Time|
|The Astrologer's Practice|
|Becoming an Author|
|Astrologers in Collision|
|The Astrologer as Political Counselor|
|Classical Astrology Restored|
|Rival Disciplines Explored|
|Cardano on Cardano|
|The Astrologer as Empiricist|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 15th November 2001
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.8 x 1.647
Weight (kg): 0.418