Astronomical Images : Armillary sphere and definition of the Sphere

Johannes Sacrobosco

Astronomical Images

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Very little is known about Johannes Sacrobosco except that he was probably British, taught astronomy at Paris University, and died there in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. <i>Sphaera mundi</i>, his major work, was an extraordinarily popular astronomical textbook for several generations. Manuscripts of it circulated through all the main European centres of learning. It was first published in 1472 in Ferrara, and went through dozens of editions up to the mid-seventeenth century. This edition of Sacrobosco's <i>Sphaera mundi</i> was printed with Georg Peuerbach's <i>Theoricae novae planetarum</i> and Johannes Regiomontanus's <i>Disputationes contra Cremonensia deliramenta.</i> It is illustrated throughout with woodcuts, some of which were coloured. The woodcut on the left-hand page shows an armillary sphere, labelled '<i>mundi sphaera</i>', showing the Arctic and Antarctic circles, tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the equinoctial circle, the ecliptic (as a band with zodiac signs), and the oblique horizon as well as the poles of the World and of the ecliptic. The Earth is at the centre On the right-hand page is the beginning of the first book of Sacrobosco's <i>Sphaera mundi</i>, where the Sphere, its centre and its axis are defined.</p>

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