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Instruction: Click on the spheres in the correct order to complete the medieval cosmos



Ninth Heaven

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. Which sphere is inhabited by the blessed?


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


3. What are the qualities of fire?


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


5. Which element is linked to the humour phlegm?


6. What are the qualities of earth?


7. Which planet is fiery and causes wars?


8. Which planet completes its circuit in 30 years?


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


10. Which planet is the largest?


11. Which planet is cold and moist?


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


13. What parts of the body does gemini rule?


14. Which angelic movers were linked to the sun?


15. What parts of the body does pisces rule?


16. Which planet is sometimes called the Morning Star?


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


18. Who did Christians identify with the Prime Mover?


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


20. Translate celum novum.


21. What is a celestial intelligence?


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.