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Astrology and Sarcasm in Three Medieval Portuguese Songs of Mockery
Helena Avelar de Carvalho
This article argues that the basic tenets of astrology were not restricted to astrologers but were known to, and understood by, most people. It presents two thirteenth-century Portuguese songs of mockery describing the misfortunes of a self-proclaimed astrologer and the unpleasant, but hilarious, consequences of his poor understanding of astrology. These songs were also very popular in the thirteenth century among all social groups, from the common people to the royal court. For these jokes to be understood, the public had to recognize at least a few technical terms, otherwise the joke would simply not have worked.