Renaissance receptions of Manilius’ anthropology

Caroline Stark

in Forgotten Stars

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586462
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724961 | DOI:
Renaissance receptions of Manilius’ anthropology

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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

Chapter.  7758 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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