ABSTRACT

Very often weather forecasting has been relegated to a subspecies of astrology. This tendency is indicated in the terminology used in the bibliographies of the texts on the subject in Arabic and Latin, which describe the genre as 'astrometeorology'. It is true that most scientific weather forecasting (as will be shown) uses the movements of the heavenly bodies as the prime indicators for the weather, and that weather forecasting is one of the topics of manuals on 'general' astrology (i.e., the genre of astrology concerned with predicting changes in the community as a whole). But predicting the weather from the heavenly bodies was often specifically excluded from the condemnations of astrology,3 and had a status between astrology and meteorology. Moreover, scientific weather forecasting can never be divorced from the study of the heavenly bodies, and it seems unnecessary to invent a new term-'astrometeorology'—for the science in its medieval phase, when we are dealing then as now simply with ways of predicting the weather. In Arabic and Latin the science was called 'on the phenomena of the atmosphere' (fï ahdãth al-jaww, de accidentibus aeris) or the like, and, although it sometimes 3 E.g., Peter Abelard takes it for granted that the heavenly bodies are responsible

shared terminology with meteorology,4 it was, and should also be distinguished from the latter, as we shall see.