How a monk contributed to astronomy: scientific discoveries of the dark Middle Ages

The dark middle ages were full of scientific advances

The Middle Ages was a period when certain advances were made in the creation of scientific instruments and devices capable of measuring the positions of astronomical objects. One example is jest. It is described in a book that recreated the life of a monk who contributed to the development of astronomy. There is a myth that the Middle Ages was a dark period in intellectual development.

Some superficial reports say that scientific development took a break between the decline of Rome and the rise of Copernican astronomy and Galileo's physics. At the same time, the historian Seb Falk in his book ‘Bright Ages’ notes that medieval reality is in fact filled with deep thinkers who were busy with complex intellectual enterprises.


The historian emphasizes the importance of the period, since it witnessed technical advances in the field of scientific instrumentation. He substantiated this point of view by recreating the life path of John Westwick. He was a monk at St Albans Abbey in England during the 14th century.

The monk authored two manuscripts describing the creation of scientific instruments. The most remarkable device of this period was the astrolabe. It is an ingenious device that contains movable discs used to measure and display the position of space objects. The story of a monk in the book is just a fraction of the new data on how science developed in the dark ages.

The processes of development of mechanics that were very intense, are practically not reflected in the annals and historical data. But Falk's new book became almost an antidote to the myth that the Middle Ages was a dark period, without development and technical progress.


The book tells about the devices, mechanisms created during that period, the development of eastern horoscopes based on instruments that observe the location of astronomical objects.

Oddly enough, science and religion did not contradict each other in the framework of the understanding that the study of nature is the study of the work of the God.