0.4°S 32.7°E: Censorinus and His ‘Astronomical’ Observations
Keywords:Censorinus, astronomy, astrology
Even though seldom heard of today, Censorinus was not an unimportant author in Late Antiquity or even in the early modern period. Quoted over and over again by later authors, among them Copernicus, this grammarian was recognised for one of his most outstanding qualities – the ability to compile sources. Not an original thinker himself, Censorinus managed to compile and organise the knowledge ranging from the works of Aristotle to the astrological tablets of the Chaldaeans, arranging it all around the central theme of his work – birthdays, particularly the birthday of his patron Quintus Caerellius. In his only extant oeuvre De die natali, a ‘golden little book’ (Vossius), Censorinus addressed a vast variety of different themes from literature, music, history, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, embryology, even history, and calendars of different Mediterranean peoples. His work is divided into two principal parts concerning conception (and birth) and time, the division line between the two parts being the praise for Quintus Caerellius. The two parts seem to have little in common at first glance, but this colourful review of different themes seems to have one main purpose: to elevate the importance of Caerellius’ birthday as high as possible.
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