Book Series Knowledge, Scholarship, and Science in the Middle Ages, vol. 2

Medieval Science in the North

Travelling Wisdom, 1000–1500

Christian Etheridge, Michele Campopiano (eds)

  • Pages: 232 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:10 b/w, 5 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58804-9
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58805-6
  • E-book
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This volume brings science in Northern Europe to the centre of the study of medieval intellectual history


“Für die mittelalterliche Wissenschaftsgeschichte liegt mit diesem Band ein wesentliches Instrument vor. Der Schlussabschnitt fällt etwas aus dem Rahmen.” (Dietrich Lohrmann, in Francia-Recensio, 29/09/2022)

“Overall, this volume significantly broadens our knowledge of medieval science in northern Europe. Attention is paid to context, making the volume accessible to non-specialists. The editors and contributors are to be commended for their attention to consistency in organization throughout, resulting in an unusually cohesive volume. A particular benefit is the way in which each author sorts through the often murky history of important texts or collections of texts in a clear and lucid way; (…) In sum, this volume adds a welcome breadth and depth to our understanding of medieval science as an enterprise of lively intellectual exchange among a diverse group of thinkers.” (Elspeth Whitney, in Speculum, 98/4, 2023, p. 1243)


Christian Etheridge is a Novo Nordisk Foundation Mads Øvlisen Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of Denmark. Michele Campopiano is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of York at the Department of English and Related Literature and the Centre for Medieval Studies.


Medieval science has become an increasingly popular area of academic interest over the past couple of decades, but much of this work has up to now concentrated on France and the Mediterranean, while relatively little attention has been paid to the north of Europe. This has led to the assumption that Northern Europe stood aside from the mainstream of scientific knowledge in the Middle Ages, when in fact the region was a vital part of the medieval network of scientific scholarship. This important volume aims to redress the balance in scholarship by bringing together for the first time a collection of studies on medieval scientific knowledge that focuses on both Scandinavia and England.

The essays gathered here examine topics as wide-ranging as the intellectual network between Denmark and Paris; the role of Dominican friars in spreading scientific knowledge in Scandinavia; the practical application of technology by English armourers; fragments of scientific manuscripts found in early modern Swedish documents; the use of scientific volumes and descriptions of university life in medieval Icelandic literature; and fresh insights into the careers of the English scientists Roger of Hereford, Roger Bacon, and Robert Grosseteste. Together, these papers show the dynamism and depth of science in the medieval North, and offer new insights into how scientific wisdom travelled through, across, and between the peoples of this region.




Roger of Hereford and the Transformation of Computus in Twelfth-Century England — C. PHILIPP E. NOTHAFT

Travelling Optics: Robert Grosseteste and the Optics behind the Rainbow — GILES E. M. GASPER, BRIAN K TANNER, SIGBJØRN SØNNESYN AND NADER EL-BIZRI

Language and Wisdom: Mathematics and Astronomy in Bacon´s Edition of the Secretum secretorum — MICHELE CAMPOPIANO

Wisdom’s Trips to Denmark — STEN EBBESEN

Medieval Scientific Book Fragments Held in Swedish and Finnish Archives: The Tantalizing Remains of a Greater Scientific Corpus — CHRISTIAN ETHERIDGE

Friars of Science: Dominican Transmission and Usage of Scientific Knowledge in Medieval Scandinavia — JOHNNY GRANDJEAN GØGSIG JAKOBSEN

Master Perus of Arabia: An Exemplary Magician in Medieval Iceland — MARTEINN HELGI SIGURÐSSON

Science in Medieval Fiction: The Case of Konráðs saga keisarasonar — FLORIAN SCHRECK

Continental Ironmongers, Whalers, Smugglers, and Craftsmen: Immigration and Trade Routes and their Influence on the London Armourers’ Industry — BRAD KIRKLAND