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Mathematical Treasure: Peter Apian’s Astronomicum Caesareum

Amy Ackerberg-Hastings (MAA Convergence)

The German astronomer, mathematician, and instrument maker, Peter Apian (1495–1552), was also a prolific author—note his multiple entries in the Index to Mathematical Treasures. His 1540 Astronomicum Caesareum was filled with colorful and detailed illustrations, and it also contained novel scientific ideas, such as determining longitude through observing solar eclipses and noting that the tails of comets point away from the Sun. Apian used the work to gain patronage from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

The book’s title page and dedication appear below.

Title page of Peter Apian's 1540 Astronomicum Caesareum.

Dedication to Charles V in Peter Apian's 1540 Astronomicum Caesareum.

Apian placed the index at the beginning of his work.

Index to Peter Apian's 1540 Astronomicum Caesareum.

The opening pages of Apian’s discussion of astronomy.

Folios 5 verso-6 recto from Peter Apian's 1540 Astronomicum Caesareum.

The images above are provided courtesy of Bamberg State Library. A full digitization of this book is available here.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Amy Ackerberg-Hastings (MAA Convergence), "Mathematical Treasure: Peter Apian’s Astronomicum Caesareum," Convergence (August 2022)