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José Chabás Bergón and Bernard R. Goldstein

During the Middle Ages and early modern times tables were a most successful and economical way to present mathematical procedures and astronomical models and to facilitate computations. Before the sixteenth century astronomical models introduced by Ptolemy in Antiquity were rarely challenged, and innovation consisted in elaborating new methods for calculating planetary positions and other celestial phenomena. Essays on Medieval Computational Astronomy includes twelve articles that focus on astronomical tables, offering many examples where the meaning and purpose of such tables has been determined by careful analysis. In evaluating the work of medieval scholars we are mindful of the importance of applying criteria consistent with their own time, which may be different from those appropriate for other periods.


José Chabás and Bernard R. Goldstein

A Survey of European Astronomical Tables in the Late Middle Ages is a first attempt to classify and illustrate the numerous astronomical tables compiled from about the 10th century to the early 16th century in the Latin West. The compilation of astronomical tables was a major and dynamic intellectual enterprise. These tables respond to a wide variety of astronomical problems and computational needs, and contain a large number of ingenious solutions proposed by astronomers over the centuries. In the absence of algebraic notation and mathematical graphing techniques, a table was often the best way to transmit precise information to the reader. Indeed, an astronomical table is not a just a list of data, but a structured way to present numerical information of astronomical interest.

"...the whole book which is an excellent guide for all those who are interested in the history of medieval European astronomy and, especially, in medieval astronomical tables."
Julio Samsó, University of Barcelona

The Lynx and the Telescope

The Parallel Worlds of Cesi and Galileo


Paolo Galluzzi

Set in the context of Counter-Reformation Rome, this book focuses on the twenty-year long relationship (1611-1630) between Galileo Galilei and Federico Cesi, the founder of the Academy of the Lynx-eyed. Contrary to the historiographical tradition, it demonstrates that the visions of Galileo and Cesi were not at all convergent. In the course of the events that led to the adoption of the anti-Copernican decree of 1616, Galileo realized that the Lynceans were not prepared to support his battle for freedom of thought. In addition to identifying the author of the anonymous denunciation of Galileo’s Assayer, Paolo Galluzzi offers an original reconstruction of the dynamics which culminated in the Church’s condemnation of the famous Tuscan scientist in 1633.

This book was originally published in Italian as Libertà di filosofare in naturalibus: I mondi paralleli di Cesi e Galileo (Storia dell’Accademia dei Lincei, Studi 4). Rome: Scienze e Lettere, Editore Commerciale, 2014.