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Author Topic: THE RENAISSANCE  (Read 4147 times)
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« Reply #75 on: October 17, 2008, 08:19:13 pm »

                                        Regiomontanus's Padua Oration in Context

James Steven Byrne

Princeton University

In the spring of 1464, the German astronomer, astrologer, and mathematician Johannes Müller (1436–76), known as Regiomontanus (a Latinization of the name of his hometown, Königsberg in Franconia), offered a course of lectures on the Arabic astronomer al-Farghani at the University of Padua.

The only one of these to survive is his inaugural oration on the history and utility of the mathematical arts.1 Regiomontanus tells his audience that the purpose of the oration is to

relate first the origin of our arts, and among which nations they first began to be cultivated, in what way they were at last translated from various foreign tongues into Latin, which of our ancestors were famed in these disciplines, and to whom in our lifetimes recognition should be granted.2

To this end, he offers a history of the quadrivial arts (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) and other important mathematical disciplines from [End Page 41] antiquity to his own time, praises their utility, and exhorts his audience to revive the languishing study of mathematics at Padua.

Astrology, a discipline with which Regiomontanus himself was closely associated, is singled out for particular praise.     
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