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J. Somer

(fl. 1380—1403) Franciscan friar and astronomer


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(fl. 1380–1403), a Franciscan friar who had entered the order at the Bridgwater convent (Somerset), but who was at the Oxford convent by 1380 and was still there in 1395. A star table of his is extant, dated 1403. (It is of a Ptolemaic type that Chaucer may be shown to have used in another recension.) There is an outside chance that John Somer was the Franciscan of whom Jacob Cnoyen spoke long afterwards as having travelled in arctic latitudes in 1360; he is purported to have surveyed with an astrolabe.

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From The Oxford Companion to Chaucer in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).


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