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Magic and Marvels in Renaissance Italy

Module Code: IT323
Module Name: Magic and Marvels in Renaissance Italy
Module Coordinator: Dr Maude Vanhaelen
Term 2 Fridays 09.00-11.00 in H0.61
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

Why do we still read our horoscope? Why do some of the most important economists still draw on ‘magic numbers’ to make financial predictions? And yet, why do we often consider science more reliable than astrology magic?

This module seeks to answer these important questions by going back to development of magic, astrology and demonology in Renaissance Italy during the period 1350-1550. Topics to be studied will include: belief and disbelief in magic, astrology, angels and demons; the role of women in the development of witchcraft and prophetic movements; the debates surrounding ‘true’ and ‘false’ prophets; and the relationship between science and religion. It draws on a wide range of texts and images, offering students the opportunity to see how the study of the Renaissance enables us to reflect on questions that are still central to our own culture.


Either 100% assessed essay (4000-4500 words) or 50% examination (1 hour) and 50% assessed essay (2000-2500 words)