The Alfonsine Tables became the main computing tool for astronomers for about 250 years, from their compilation in Toledo ca. 1272 to the edition in 1551 of new tables based on Copernicus’s astronomical models. It consisted of a set of astronomical tables which, over time, was presented in many different formats. Giovanni Bianchini (d. after 1469), an astronomer active in Ferrara, Italy, was among the few scholars of that extended period to compile a coherent and insightful set based on the Alfonsine Tables. His tables, described and analyzed here for the first time, played a remarkable role in the transmission of the Alfonsine Tables and in their transition from manuscript to print.
José Chabás, Ph.D. (1989) in Physics, University of Barcelona, Spain, teaches at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, and currently works at FAO, Rome, Italy. He studies the transmission of astronomical ideas, methods, and tables in the late Middle Ages.
Bernard R. Goldstein, Ph.D. (1961), History of Mathematics, Brown University, is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh (USA). He has written extensively on the history of astronomy, based mainly on texts in Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin.
"Les Tables sous examen sont probablement l'ensemble le plus volumineux produit en Europe dans le genre avant les temps modernes. Dans la mesure où le travail de l'astronome de Ferrare s'inscrit dans la continuité des Tables alphonsines, cet accroissement fait mieux comprendre et mieux apprécié le travail accomplit par les astronomes du roi Alphonse X de Castille dans la deuxième partie du XIIIe siècle."
"L'analyse technique est à tout point de vue excellent et ne prête pas à redire."
Aestimatio 6 (2009) 155-161
"The book [...] is an important step, shining a more focused light on Bianchini's inventive
Tabulae astronomiae, providing a succinct technical guide to its contents, and describing clearly its innovations."
"The history of astronomy can only benefit from an increased attention to numerical tables, and this book is an excellent contribution. It is highly recommended for readers with the appropriate background."
Glen Van Brummelen,
Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 41, Part 4, No. 145 (November 2010), 514-516
Table of contents
1. Giovanni Bianchini: Life and work
2. Analysis of the tables
2.2. Tables in ed. 1495
2.3. Other tables in the manuscripts and ed. 1526, but not included in ed. 1495
2.4. Other tables in ed. 1526 or in MS Nu that are not included in ed. 1495 or in MS Na
Those interested in history of science, especially astronomy and mathematics, in the late Middle Ages and early modern times; historians of early printed books and the transmission of ideas.