Anne Lawrence-MathersDec 15, 2020
Forecasting the Weather from Aristotle to the Almanac
Cambridge University Press 2019
In this episode we speak to Anne Lawrence-Mathers, Professor of History at the University of Reading about her new book Medieval Meteorology: Forecasting the Weather from Aristotle to the Almanac, out this year, 2020, with Cambridge University Press.
The practice of weather forecasting underwent a crucial transformation in the Middle Ages. Exploring how scientifically-based meteorology spread and flourished from c.700-c.1600, this study reveals the dramatic changes in forecasting and how the new science of 'astro-meteorology' developed. Both narrower and more practical in its approach than earlier forms of meteorology, this new science claimed to deliver weather forecasts for months and even years ahead, on the premise that weather is caused by the atmospheric effects of the planets and stars, and mediated by local and seasonal climatic conditions. Anne Lawrence-Mathers explores how these forecasts were made and explains the growing practice of recording actual weather. These records were used to support forecasting practices, and their popularity grew from the fourteenth century onwards. Essential reading for anyone interested in medieval science, Medieval Meteorology demonstrates that the roots of scientific forecasting are much deeper than is usually recognized.
Professor Lawrence-Mathers is the author of The True History of Merlin the Magician and Magic and Medieval Society,(along with Carolina Escobar-Vargas) as well as a host of articles and reviews about Medieval magic and religion. With this book the author continues her examination of spiritual practice – licit and illicit, clerical and lay – as it was culturally understood in the medieval era.
Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.