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Medieval people imagined the earth to be at the still centre of a dynamic cosmos. It was enclosed within multiple transparent spheres, nested closely within one another like the layers of an onion (a popular analogy of the time).

Medieval Universe quiz

1. What are the qualities of earth?

 
 
 

2. Which sphere is inhabited by the blessed?

 
 
 

3. Translate celum novum.

 
 
 

4. What parts of the body does pisces rule?

 
 
 

5. Which planet is the largest?

 
 
 

6. This sphere was thought to contain the ‘waters above the firmament’

 
 
 

7. Which angelic movers were linked to the sun?

 
 
 

8. The 12 zodiac signs are located in this sphere.

 
 
 

9. This planet is difficult to see because it keeps pace with the sun.

 
 
 

10. Which planet completes its circuit in 30 years?

 
 
 

11. Who did Christians identify with the Prime Mover?

 
 
 

12. Which planet is sometimes called the Morning Star?

 
 
 

13. This planet’s qualities are hot and damp and its colour is sliver.

 
 
 

14. What parts of the body does gemini rule?

 
 
 

15. What is a celestial intelligence?

 
 
 

16. Where did Aristotle say the sun’s light and heat came from?

 
 
 

17. Which element is linked to the humour black bile?

 
 
 

18. Which planet is cold and moist?

 
 
 

19. What are the qualities of fire?

 
 
 

20. Which planet is fiery and causes wars?

 
 
 

21. Which element is linked to the humour phlegm?

 
 
 


Medieval people imagined the earth to be at the still centre of a dynamic cosmos. It was enclosed within multiple transparent spheres, nested closely within one another like the layers of an onion (a popular analogy of the time).

 

A quarter of the sphere of earth was thought to be elevated above the sphere of water.

 

Its qualities are hot and moist and its humour is blood

 

Its qualities are hot and dry and its humour is yellow bile

 

The Moon completes its circuit in one year. The diameter of the Moon is 1,896 and the diameter of its orbit is 101,261 miles.‎

 

Mercury completes its circuit in one year. The thickness of its planetary sphere is 370,122 miles and its diameter is 230 miles.

 

Venus completes its circuit in one year. The thickness of its sphere is 3,313,545 miles and its diameter is 2,884 miles.

 

The Sun is the largest planet and is in the fourth sphere. The Sun’s sphere is 375,762 miles thick and its diameter is 35,700 miles.

 

Mars completes its circuit in two years. The thickness of its sphere is 218,083,446 miles and its diameter is 7,572 miles.

 

Jupiter completes its circuit in twenty years. Its sphere is 20,192,626 miles thick and the planet itself has a diameter of 29,641 miles.

 

Saturn is the last of the planets and completes its circuit in thirty years. Its planetary sphere is 20,843,044 miles thick and its diameter is 29,209 miles.

 

Celitelat is the last of the planets and completes its circuit in thirty years. Its planetary sphere is 20,843,044 miles thick and its diameter is 29,209 miles.

 

This website was designed by Dr Sophie Page (UCL). Thanks to Rakhe Mahia Abedin and Kathleen Walker Meikle for their help in developing the concepts.