Menu Home

Chaucer’s astrolabe

Geoffrey Chaucer is best known as the author of The Canterbury Tales, one of the most important works of early English literature. I guess that didn’t pay the bills, because he also wrote one of the first English technical manuals.

Chaucer wrote A Treatise on the Astrolabe in about 1391. He wrote it as if for a child – and possibly it was specifically for a ten year old named Lewis (a family friend).

The text sets out a systematic and clear description of the astrolabe, its workings, and general notes on astronomy and astrology. It was written, like much of Chaucer’s work, in English, although modern speakers may have difficulty deciphering the Middle English of the time:

This tretis, divided in fyve partis, wole I shewe thee under ful lighte rewles and naked wordes in English; for Latin ne canstow yit but smal, my lyte sone.

Categories: Arts & recreation Earth & sky History Literature Medieval history Sciences Technology

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: