There are no astrolabes decorating Geoffrey Chaucer's tomb. As we might expect, its Latin epitaph remembered Chaucer as a poet, and not as a stargazer nor as a technical writer. In life Chaucer was all of these.1 In the 1390s, as he finished the bulk of his Canterbury Tales, he found time to stargaze and to compile a Middle English Treatise on the Astrolabe translated from Latin and French sources, themselves translations of Arabic texts on the astrolabe.2 Its topic can feel esoteric and obsolete these days: how many of us, after all, have relied upon on an astrolabe to tell time by the night sky, or track the sun's progress through the houses of the zodiac, or measure the height of some terrestrial thing? Centuries of readers, quite understandably, have gravitated to the richness of storytelling and social life on display in the Canterbury Tales....

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