Subject to Divine, Human, and Demonic Manipulation
The story of Agobard and the sky sailors takes us to the heart of tenth-century [C.E.] cosmology, to the way people viewed the world. Natural events were not natural in the sense that nature was an interacting, self-explanatory, independent system. Rather, it was something subject to divine, human, and demonic manipulation. Today we understand the dynamics of nature as independent, interconnected, and self-regulating and ultimately explained by science. For tenth-century people, the borders between the natural and human worlds were permeable. Magic, miracles, and a whole constellation of intermediaries, such as the Blessed Virgin and the saints as well as those in league with the devil, could influence what happened for good or ill through weather, sickness, pestilence, and all types of disasters.
— The Birth of the West, pp. 13-14
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