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Название: Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology)
Авторы: Newman W., Grafton A.
One night in 1631, a young Jesuit lay sleeping in his order’s college at
Würzburg. He slept the sleep of the just, not only because he had found a
scholarly vocation, but even more because the Holy Roman Empire had
reached an uneasy state of truce. The emperor had conquered his Protestant
enemies; no one, the Jesuit later recalled, could even imagine that
heresy would revive. Suddenly a bright light filled the room. Waking, he
leapt out of bed and ran to the window. He saw the open square before the
college full of armed men and horses. Hurrying from room to room, he
found that everyone else was still deeply asleep and decided that he must
have been dreaming. So he ran to the window, where he saw the same terrifying
vision. But when he woke someone to serve as a witness, it had vanished.
In the next few days, he became a prey to fear and depression and
ran about, as he later recalled, “like a fanatic,” predicting disaster. The others
made fun of him—until, with satisfying rapidity, invaders materialized
and the city fell. Suddenly, the prophet was treated with respect in his own
country. Since he taught, among other subjects, mathematics, his friends
inferred that he must have used one of his technical skills to forecast the
invasion. Surely, they argued, he had used the art of astrology to make his
prediction. Nothing else could explain his ability to foresee so unexpected
a turn of events.