Astrology is higher and nobler than medicine and every physician must be an astrologer: astrologer-physicians and their working practices, 1580-1680    

Year of award: 2016


  • Barbara Dunn

    University of Exeter

Project summary

My thesis will explore the work of early modern astrologer-physicians, as they were shaped and informed by the Astrological Figure (known today as a ‘horoscope’). I aim to reconstruct the organisation, routines, rituals, encounters and processes of an early modern astrological-medical practice and interrogate their understanding and application of the evidence contained in the figure. I will ask how the figure shaped astrological-medical practice and construction and imaging of disease and illness, how it informed diagnosis, prognosis and treatment and how closely astrological theory was adhered to. I will analyse printed vernacular astrological guides/manuscripts, astrological-medical casebooks, personal correspondence, autobiographies, almanacs and astrologer-physicians’ source material. 

The structure of this thesis will follow the procedural steps of the early modern astrological-medical consultation (the encounter, process, and response), simultaneously working within the classifications of astrology as presented in texts of the time.