Music and the stars

Mathematics in medieval Ireland

Mary Kelly & Charles Doherty, editors

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ISBN: 978-1-84682-392-3
November 2013. 288pp; colour ills.

Ireland’s contribution to modern science is well attested, yet it is not so well known that Ireland, famed for over half a millennium for its saints and scholars, was equally renowned for the scientific endeavour carried out in its monastic schools. Nor is it generally appreciated in wider historical debate that the principles of scientific discovery – observation and analysis – flourished in early medieval Ireland. This book addresses that lacuna. For the first time, international experts introduce and explore the history of mathematics in medieval Ireland – its reception, philosophy and the contribution made by Irish scholars to the development of science in Ireland and Western Europe. Along with the study of computistics, medieval mathematics comprised the quadrivium of arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy and it is no accident that the period of Ireland’s great artistic achievements, such as the Book of Kells and the sculptured crosses, occurred when mathematical skills merged with artistic expression.

Contributors: Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute); Howard Clarke (RIA); Charles Doherty (UCD); Siobhán Fitzpatrick (RIA); Anthony Harvey (RIA); David Howlett (U Oxford); Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (NUIG); Pádraig P. Ó Néill (U North Carolina); Marina Smyth (U Notre Dame); Robert Stevick (U Washington); Maura Walsh (NUIG); Immo Warntjes (U Greifswald).

Mary Kelly is a member of the RSAI and organizer of the conference ‘Music and the Stars’. Charles Doherty is a former president of the RSAI.