Italian

  • Piccolomini, De le Stelle Fisse

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    In contrast to the constellation figures in Hyginus and Abu Ma’shar, Piccolomini created a star atlas, measuring the positions of the stars according to an indicated scale (specific to each plate). He designated stars by Roman letters (a, b, c, etc.) in order of apparent brightness. Piccolomini also indicated brighter stars by showing them larger on the page. 

    Piccolomini, at the University of Padua at this time, published a number of works in the vernacular. His wrote an introduction to astronomy, The Sphere of the Universe (La Sfera del Mondo), in the Tuscan dialect. The 1st edition of La Sfera is included in this volume; 14 editions were published before the end of the century. Piccolomini was particularly interested in codifying the use of standard scientific terms in Italian, creating them when necessary, especially in astronomy.

    Compare Piccolomini’s depiction of Orion with Galileo’s, who also declined to include a constellation figure.
    Piccolomini’s plates are numbered according to Ptolemy’s list of 48 constellations, although the plate for Equuleus the Little Horse is missing from this and other known copies.

    Constellation figures were not the only conceptual entities Piccolomini omitted: he was also skeptical of the reality of the geometrical devices used in astronomical systems, despite their effectiveness as calculation tools. For example, Ptolemy could model the motion of the Sun using either an epicycle or an eccentric model; these models could both provide accurate predictions of the Sun’s positions, but both could not be true. For Piccolomini, mathematical methods did not rise to the level of logical demonstrations.

    Piccolomini was an advocate not only of science in the vernacular, but also of providing educational opportunities for women.

  • Coronelli, Celestial Globe Gores

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    Coronelli, a Franciscan theologian and astronomer who worked in both Italy and France, was a founder of modern geography and an influential maker of celestial and terrestrial globes. Makers of globes printed sheets of map sections, called gores, which were then hand-colored, cut out and glued onto a wood and paper-maché base. 

    These 9 gores were part of a set of 24 produced at the request of Coronelli’s Accademia Cosmografica to make a 3.5 foot diameter celestial globe. They were designed by Arnold Deuvez and engraved by Jean-Baptiste Nolin in Paris. The set was a reprint of gores which Coronelli printed in Venice in 1688. At the time, Coronelli’s 1688 globe was the largest and most accurate printed celestial globe. The Latin and French legends distinguish this 1693 Paris reprint from the 1688 originals, which were in Italian.

    These gores are reprints made in 1800 using the original 1693 plates.

    In the Epitome Cosmographica, Coronelli explained how to use celestial and terrestrial globes and his techniques for constructing them. The Epitome describes how Coronelli famously constructed a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes for Louis XIV which measured more than 12 feet in diameter. 

  • Coronelli, Epitome Cosmografica

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    The tiny size of a volume by Coronelli belies its historical importance: in this Epitome, Coronelli explained how to use celestial and terrestrial globes, and his techniques for constructing them. The Epitome describes how Coronelli famously constructed a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes for Louis XIV, which measured more than 12 feet in diameter.

    Hand-colored prints for a 3-foot diameter Coronelli celestial globe are also part of the Galileo's World exhibition.

    Another work held by the History of Science Collections, Phillippe de la Hire, Description et explication des globes qui sont placés dans les pavillons du Château de Marly (Paris, 1704), describes Coronelli’s 12-foot globes and explains how to use them for astronomical calculations.