Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 4, No. 1


Heaven and the Sphaera Mundi in the Middle Ages

Edgar Laird

This paper examines the development of the idea of heaven in relation to the sphaera mundi - the sphere of the world - in medieval literature. The sphaera mundi is a model of the cosmos that at its most elementary is very simple indeed. At the centre of it is the earth, so small as to be virtually a dot in comparison to the whole or even to the smallest star. Earth is surrounded by the sea, which in turn is surrounded by air, as also air is surrounded by fire. Surrounding the fire is a sphere that 'bears' the moon, and around that sphere are others, like layers of an onion, bearing the other planets: Mercury, then Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Then come the sphere bearing the fixed stars and, beyond it, one or more others. All these spheres together constitute the sphere of the world.

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