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Black Monday: William Lilly, Astrology, and the Eclipse of 1652

Astrology has many competing proponents, and faced, in 1652, a challenge, a timely opportunity to prove itself.

1652: the king has been executed, Oliver Cromwell has not yet come to power, parliament struggles to assert its authority. What will heaven send to the English? Punishment, or peace and prosperity - or even the second coming of Christ? Astrology, defiantly asserted in William Lilly’s Christian Astrology of 1647 stands at the height of its influence in England, offering as it did to a bewildered and anxious people an apparently verifiable way of seeing God’s purposes in advance. Vehemently attacked by most clergymen, emphatically endorsed by some, astrology has many competing proponents, and faced, in 1652, a challenge, a timely opportunity to prove itself: Annus tenebrosus, the 'dark year', with a major solar eclipse and two lunar eclipses anticipated.This lecture will examine the difficult situation of the nation’s pre-eminent astrologer, William Lilly, as he faced this set of circumstances; describe why and how he interpreted the potential effects of the Black Monday solar eclipse in the way he did, what happened on the day itself, and the effects on Lilly’s contemporary reputation and for astrology as a whole. Dr Roy Booth is a senior lecturer at Royal Holloway College, University of London, teaching courses on Renaissance Literature and ‘Witchcraft and Drama 1576-1642.' Price: £7.00 Time: 7.15 for a 7.30 start


Dr Roy Bloom | talks


Date and Time:

22 July 2010 at 7:15 pm


2 hours 30 minutes



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