Western Imagination Notes: Sun King & Medieval Cosmology: 10/27/14

Western Imagination 10/27/14

Finishing Louie (Age of Absolutism) – Moving to Scientific Revolution. Political and Intellectual. Age of Absolutism: Idea rule has power over all. In practice idea was successful, as we see with Louie XIV. Made decision to move court to Versailles. To see in action: A Day in the Life of Versailles.

Absolutism/Centralized Monarch – the kingdom revolves around him. “The road leads to Louie.” King awakened at 8am. Courtiers are reminded that Louie is their sovereign and they are not. The day is structured to remind courtiers of this. Court processed through hall of mirror on was to mass. (Louie is devout Catholic.) This is the time to ask for tax exemption for your territory. The ceiling is decorated to glorify Louie. Detail of the floor – Monogram Script L, for Louie.

After mass, Louie meets with the royal council. At Versailles they grow orange trees, even though oranges don’t grow in that climate. There is an ‘orange room.’ An Orangery – with interior/ and exterior places. Goes to show (Symbolic of) how much effort goes to maintaining this monarchy and literally everything revolves around Louie.

In the Afternoon: hunting or stroll in garden. Layout of garden is rigidly formal. Everything is under control, planned, and this is a metaphor for how the kingdom is run. The pattern in the garden imitates embroidery. It is of the royal pattern. In case we forgot who’s house we were at. The shrubs are high maintained, take copious amounts of effort, and are closely clipped.

Oh Louie, how wonderful your decorations are.

All the water foundations couldn’t work at once; metaphor for how you could have all the power and still be defeated. Also, built tennis court, that’s now a museum.

Evening: After meal, Entertainment: cards, gambling, pool, music, dance, ballet, plays… until 1660 Louie himself appeared in ballet, in a sun costume – hence the same “Sun King.”

Then the king says his evening prayers and undresses. The courtier that gets to hold the candle is like- Regina George of the Courtiers.

Western Imagination 10/27/14

Ancient & Medieval Cosmology.

Aristotelian – Ptolemaic Universe. Before – the old idea. Pre – revolution worldview. Cosmology: Cosmos. Logos: Rational account of something. Cosmos: Order. Chaos is opposite cosmos. Conviction that world had order but appeared as chaos.

Structure. Function. What any cosmos has. Account for these two things. Where they go. How they work.

Ancient cosmology. They believed the universe was arranged geocentric with the earth being center of the universe. Believed Earth was stationary. Everything thing else moves, they Aristotelian – Ptolemaic people said. Believed earth was not a planet. Planet: Wanderer. Their understanding was different. They saw constellations stationary. Planets not stationary because they appeared in different places in the night sky. Correctly believed earth was sphere.

Apparently we were all taught wrong and Pre-Colombus NO ONE BELIEVED THE WORLD WAS FLAT. Yeah, they got it right. They always thought the world was wrong.

They thought space was an onion, a turning onion. And earth was stuck in the middle of it. Sphere of Earth, Sphere of water, Sphere of Air, Sphere of Fire: And that makes up the Earth’s Onion Layers. (The ones under the moon.)

Heaven has Ether. Earth Doesn’t.

Light Elements: Air & Fire. So they though steam and flame rose because they were light. Levity. They would go to the sphere of air, or sphere of fire.

They thought the heavy elements dropped to the ground because they were heavy.

These perceptions lasted as long as they did because they were learned from observed experience.

One thing Aristotle could not explain: Retrograde Motion.


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