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Forgotten StarsRediscovering Manilius' Astronomica$
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Steven J. Green and Katharina Volk

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586462

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586462.001.0001

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Renaissance receptions of Manilius’ anthropology

Renaissance receptions of Manilius’ anthropology

(p.261) 16 Renaissance receptions of Manilius’ anthropology
Forgotten Stars

Caroline Stark

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the reception of Manilius’ anthropology in the works of two fifteenth-century Renaissance astrological poets, Lorenzo Bonincontri and Giovanni Pontano. Bonincontri, in the story of Endymion in De rebus naturalibus et divinis II, and Pontano, in the conception, birth, and development of man in Urania, draw on Manilius’ three forms of knowledge (revealed, inspired, acquired) to reconcile the astrological worldview with the Christian notion of man’s free will. Manilius alternately credits mankind’s attainment of astrological knowledge to his ingenuity and hard work or to heaven’s inspiration or revelation. Drawing on Manilius’ ambiguity, Bonincontri and Pontano argue that the attainment of astrological knowledge is a cooperative effort between man and heaven, that astrological knowledge is limited, and that man’s reason and will can overturn astrological predisposition and celestial influence. They assert that the existence of astrological knowledge does not curtail man’s actions but rather empowers and informs his choices.

Keywords:   anthropology, astrology, Lorenzo Bonincontri, free will, knowledge, labor, Manilius, Giovanni Pontano, reason, Renaissance

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