A Survey of European Astronomical Tables in the Late Middle Ages

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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
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Biographical Note

José Chabás, Ph. D. (1998), University of Barcelona, Spain, is University Professor Emeritus at the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. He has focused his work on astronomy during the Middle Ages and the early modern period, with a special emphasis on astronomical tables.

Bernard R. Goldstein, Ph.D. (1963) in History of Mathematics, Brown University, is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh. He has published extensively on ancient and medieval astronomy, based on sources in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic.

Review Quote

"[...] an excellent guide for all those who are interested in the history of medieval European astronomy and, especially, in medieval astronomical tables. The author of this review, who has dedicated his life to the study of Andalusian and Maghribī astronomy, can only thank the authors for a book that emphasizes the influence of this tradition in medieval Europe."

Julio Samsó, University of Barcelona

Table of contents

Preface
Introduction
1. Chronology
2. Trigonometry and spherical astronomy
3. Equation of time
4. Precession and apogees
5. Mean motions and radices
6. Equations
7. True positions
8. Velocity
9. Latitudes
10. Stations and retrogradations
11. Visibility of the Moon and the planets
12. Parallax
13. Syzygies
14. Planetary conjunctions
15. Eclipses
16. Fixed stars
17. Geographical lists
18. Astrology
19. Miscellaneous
Bibliography
Index

Readership

All those interested in the history of science in the Middle Ages, history of astronomy, computational techniques, and late medieval intellectual history.

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