Manuel I Komnenos and Michael Glycas: A Twelfth-Century Defence and Refutation of Astrology
Manuel Komnenos I, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire composed a defence of
astrology to the Church Fathers, in which he asserted that this discipline was
compatible with Christian doctrine. Theologian Michael Glykas, possibly
imprisoned and blinded by Manuel for political sedition, refuted this defence,
claiming that the astrological art was heretical.
This is the first time that this
exchange of treatises has been translated into any language since their
composition in the twelfth-century.
The introduction sets these works into their
historical framework, at a time when the belief in the validity of astrology was
held by some of the best scholars of this century as a result of the flood of Arabic
astrological translations coming into the Latin West and Greek East. The
writings of these two antagonists precipitated anew in mediaeval thought the
problem of the correct relationship between man, the celestial bodies and God
who dwelled in Heaven.