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De Diversis Artibus (DDA 101 (N.S. 64))
Walcher of Malvern
Walcher of Malvern, De lunationibus and De Dracone
Study, Edition, Translation, and Commentary

P. Nothaft (ed.)
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XIX+346 p., 6 colour ill., 4 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2017
ISBN: 978-2-503-56876-8
Languages: English, Latin
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Retail price: EUR 90,00 excl. tax
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This volume contains the first complete edition and study of the works of Walcher of Malvern, a key figure in Latin astronomy around 1100

Walcher, the prior of Great Malvern in Worcestershire (d. 1135), is a landmark figure in the history of medieval science, whose work brought the Latin computistical tradition to its apex while foreshadowing the twelfth-century Renaissance in mathematical astronomy. His most famous achievement is the observation of a lunar eclipse in 1092 with the aid of an astrolabe, which is the first of its kind to be recorded in a Latin source. In spite of his renown, Walcher’s writings have never received any close scrutiny and the precise rationale and modalities behind his observations and calculations remain ill-understood. This volume contains the first complete edition of Walcher’s two known treatises (De lunationibus and De Dracone), together with an English translation and a detailed commentary. An introductory study will elucidate the background to his scientific pursuits and situate them in the intellectual and disciplinary context of the late-eleventh and early-twelfth century, when Latin astronomy underwent a transformative period of lasting significance.

 C. Philipp E. Nothaft is a post-doctoral fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He has published widely on the history of medieval astronomy and chronology, including the monographs "Dating the Passion" (Leiden, 2012) and "Medieval Latin Christian Texts on the Jewish Calendar" (Leiden, 2014).

Table of Contents


I. Introduction

II. Backgrounds and Contexts

III. The Manuscripts

Walcerus Malvernensis: De lunationibus

Walcher of Malvern: On Lunations

Walcerus Malvernensis: De Dracone

Walcher of Malvern: On the Dragon

Commentary on De lunationibus

Commentary on De Dracone




“Thanks to the efforts of Philipp Nothaft, the first complete edition of the two extant works by Walcher of Malvern – an important piece of the history of medieval astronomy – is now available to readers.” (A. Hadravová, in Scriptorium Bulletin Codicologique, 1, 2018, p. 85)

“This book is just one of the more recent examples of the quality scholarship on medieval astronomy that Nothaft has produced at a dizzying rate over the past decade.” (Henry Zepeda, in History of Astronomy, 50/1, 2019, p. 114)

“This monk of Great Malvern Priory deserves our attention as a pioneering astrologer. Nothaft's critical editions and translations of his astronomical works are an important contribution to monastic science in the Middle Ages.” (Scott G. Bruce, in Mediaevistik, 31, 2018, pp. 429-430) 

“In tal modo, grazie a Nothaft otteniamo una conferma non solo di quella stretta connessione tra astronomia e medicina che attraverso il Medioevo giungerà al Rinascimento e oltre, ma anche del ruolo centrale svolto dall’Italia nel mettere in moto il processo che avrebbe condotto al «Rinascimento del XII secolo ». Motivo di più per apprezzare quest’eccellente opera, che per il suo rigore e la sua originalità costituirà certamente in futuro un punto di riferimento per gli studiosi della scienza nel Medioevo.” (Alberto Jori, in Studi Medievali, LX/1, 2019, p. 352)

« L’ édition et la traduction de chaque texte sont de la plus grande qualité, et les commentaires sont fort bons. Nous sommes reconnaissants d’avoir à disposition ces œuvres de Walcher de Malvern pour mieux comprendre la culture du XIIe s. de l’Europe latine. » (Wesley M. Stevens, in Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 62, 2019, p. 416)



Interest Classification:
Branches of Philosophy
Sciences & Technology
History of Science
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history

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