"William E. Emba"|
Aurelius of Brittany greatly desires Dorigen, a married woman who has
not seen her husband, the knight, for some years. Dorigen puts off
Aurelius's advances by promising that she will yield when he clears
the coast of Brittany of all its rocks. Eventually, a knowledgeable
clerk calculates when an unusually high tide is due. Aurelius waits
for that day to tell Dorigen he has fulfilled her conditions.
Meanwhile, Dorigen's husband has returned.
Leaving the soap opera aspects for the English major, we
note that Chaucer (who wrote a treatise on the astrolabe)
spells out the astronomical calculation in far more detail
than poetry or plot could possibly require.
|(quoted from The Franklin's Tale (in The Canterbury Tales))|
His tables tolletanes forth he brought,
Ful wel corrected, ne ther lakked nought,
Neither his collect ne his expans yeeris,
Ne his rootes, ne his othere geeris,
As been his centris and his argumentz
And his proporcioneles convenientz
For his equacions in every thyng.
And by his eighte speere in his wirkyng
He knew ful wel how fer alnath was shove
For the heed of thilke fixe aries above,
That in the ninthe speere considered is;
Ful subtilly he kalkulled al this.
whan he hadde founde his firste mansioun,
He knew the remenaunt by propocioun,
And knew the arisyng of his moone weel,
And in whos face, and terme, and everydeel;
And knew ful weel the moones mansioun
Acordaunt to his operacioun,
And knew also his othere observaunces
For swiche illusiouns and swiche meschaunces
See the April 2000 issue of SKY
AND TELESCOPE, where the goal of the calculations is identified, apparently
for the first time in 600 years.
For more information about Chaucer, check out Chaucer On-Line at SIU.
Probably the first work advocating effectively for gender equality among all classes of people. To comprehend the math / astronomy one should understand the rare astronomical configuration of December 1290 SEMICOLON the moon was at perigee while the earth was at perihelion and the three bodies were in a straight line. This results in the maximum high tides that the moon and sun together can generate. The elaborate description outlines the tools and math a medieval astrologer would use to make this calculation.