Manuel I Komnenos and His Dedication to Astrology

August 11, 2021 at 12:34 (UT/GMT)
(Leo) cubic
Manuel I Komnenos and His Dedication to Astrology
It´s an interesting read. The Komnenoi´s fascination with astrology particularly Manuel I Komnenos (1118-1180) is well studied and documented.. lots of letters where he battles it out with the Christians of the day have survived:…


"Manuel I Komnenos was an advocate of astrology and his court was
known for its interest in divination and wonders. While astrology was by
no means his main enterprise, it shaped the way that he viewed the world.
In his 1993 biography of Manuel, Magdalino challenges the traditional
less-than-favorable view of this emperor arguing that Manuel´s reign was,
´in some sense the high point of medieval Greek civilization.63 However,
he is at a loss to understand Manuel´s strong commitment to astrology,
wondering if it derived from a particularly successful astrological
prediction or if he had fallen under the spell of charismatic astrologers.64
Manuel´s position on astrology did not arise from an uninformed and
uncritical acceptance of a superstitious belief nor was it an idiosyncratic
mark or character defect of an otherwise rational man as his
contemporary biographer Choniates maintained.65 Rather, well-educated,
widely read, and distinguished for his profound intellect Manuel lived at
a juncture in time when his natural interest in astrology as part of his
cultural and familial heritage coincided with a renaissance in the West in
which some of the best scholars of the century likewise believed in the
validity of this art.
In the next decade Manuel faced a coalition of Normans, Serbs,
Hungarians, and Kievans in which he had some successes. At the battle
of Semlin, in 1167, against the Hungarians, just as the Byzantine general
was about to charge into battle, a courier suddenly arrived bearing a letter
from Manuel ordering the commander to put off the engagement until
another day. Choniates comments:
That particular day was rejected as being unlucky and unfavorable
for a military encounter, but since the successful completion or
failure of great and mighty deeds depends on the goodwill of God, I
do not know how it was that Manuel could put his trust in the
conjunctions and positions and movements of the stars, and obey the
prattle of astrologers as though they were equal to judgments coming
from God´s throne (Chon. 2.5.154).
The general ignored Manuel´s order and went on to victory. The only
incidents that Choniates relates are those in which Manuel´s astrological
judgments were in error. It could be surmised that because of the
historian´s anti-astrological attitude, it is unlikely that he would have
included the successes. However, unless Manuel had seen positive results
gained by taking planetary configurations into consideration, he would
not have continued to make use of the art. What is clear, however, is
Manuel´s attentiveness to astrology and his confidence in its practitioners,
even in regard to major military undertakings and affairs of state.
In the years immediately preceding Manuel´s death, various prophecies
began to be made concerning a grand conjunction of planets on
September 16, 1186. Manuel´s Byzantine astrologers were in active
correspondence with their Arab and Western colleagues, predicting that
there would be great political and natural disasters, including violent
weather upheavals.87 But Manuel who, as it seems, was part of the
international community of scholars who at that time believed in the
validity of astrology, had every reason to take their warnings seriously.
As protector of the empire, the responsible action from his perspective
would be to take the necessary precautions for the safety of his people.

At the onset of his serious illness in March 1180, Manuel did not
accept his approaching death, because his astrologers who were in
attendance had predicted that he would soon recover and live for another
fourteen years to yet level cities to the ground. Thus, even though Alexios
II was still in puberty, Manuel refused to make provisions for the running
of his government during his son´s minority. By September of 1180, as
his symptoms worsened, he finally appointed his Norman wife Mary as
regent, renounced his earlier trust in astrology on the advice of the
patriarch, and taking the monastic habit as was customary, passed away
in the thirty-eighth year of his reign. "

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October 28, 2021 at 14:53
(Aquarius) Ava69
Introduction to Byzantine Astrology

During the 5th and 6th centuries AD, the Eastern Roman Empire boasted a host of astrologers: Hephaestion, Julian of Laodicea, "Proclus," Rhetorius, and John Lydus.

Though their works are singularly unoriginal compilations, they remain the major sources for an understanding of earlier Hellenistic astrology. By the end of the 6th century, however, the general decline of the Byzantine Empire´s intellectual life and the strong opposition of the church had combined to virtually obliterate astrology, though some practice of reading celestial omens survived in Byzantium as it did in western Europe.

The science was revived only in the late 8th century and the 9th century under the impact of translations from Syriac and Arabic. The period from about 800 to 1200 was the most propitious for Byzantine astrology, though nothing was essentially added to astrological theories or techniques.

For instance, Manuel I Comnenus, emperor of the Byzantine Empire between 1143-1180, utilized astrology in his political and personal life, as well as supporting translations of occult literature in his court.

When the Church Patriarch presented Manuel with a letter from a simple monk claiming that the astrological teaching was a sacrilege, Manuel could not allow a charge of heresy to be leveled against him. He composed a defense of astrology, asserting that it was compatible with Christian doctrine.

Only as he became ill and eventually died in 1180, on the advice of Theodosius (Patriarch of Constantinople), he renounced to astrology.
October 28, 2021 at 15:43
(Taurus) nutelina
The relation to the weather interest me and this interested, I think many others before me!

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