Ancient and Medieval Cosmologies

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Course Open to: 
Students on-site
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Course Description: 

The aim of the course is to explore the concepts, key issues, trends and major sources of ancient and medieval cosmology. Through the close analysis of textual sources and visual material, the course examines the various approaches taken throughout the period toward the understanding of the cosmos and man’s place therein. The course considers the ways in which concepts of cosmology were created and explored within the fields of philosophy, science, theology, and literature. It reflects on how nature has been described, understood and conceptualised by various authors and how textual and visual vocabulary and modes of representation developed. The course considers the various systems and explicatory frameworks that arose at different times and within different intellectual and institutional contexts. The focus of the course is the close reading and discussion of the primary sources, ranging from the Pre-Socratics to the 15th century, and the engagement with the ideas that arise from them. The context and background will be provided by the secondary literature with powerpoint presentations for visual material. Sources will be read in English translation but can in addition be read in the original language by those who wish to do so. The course is online, real time, fully interactive and held via Zoom.

Learning Outcomes: 

1/ Knowledge in ancient and medieval cosmology, scientific and philosophical ideas, sources, authors and institutional context.
2/ Knowledge in ancient and medieval textual, visual and intellectual history.
3/ Skill in reasoning and disputing.
4/ Skill in analysing textual and visual sources.
5/ Writing skill.


The grade is based on class participation [50%] and seminar paper [50%].