Old Books, New Stars

Old Books, New Stars

Old Books, New Stars
Written by Farkas Gábor Farkas
NSZL–Balassi Publishers–HAS Institute for Literary Studies, Budapest, 2011., 282 pages
ISBN 978 963 506 854 8

2 800,- Ft

From November 1572, the constellation of a queen sitting on her throne became a popular illustration of scientific books for years in Europe. How did the characteristic W-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia next to the Milky Way get into the focus of attention of 16th century writers, theologians, astrologers, philosophers and astronomers?

If we were to take up the impossible task of summarizing the history of science in the 16th century, we should point at the years 1543 and 1572 marking two remarkable events that subverted the traditional world-view of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. 1543 was the year when On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus was published and brought a fundamental change to the way scientists looked at celestial motions. And in 1572, a new star appeared on the sky, visible to everyone.

The topic of Old Books, New Stars is complex: it presents the astronomy-related records of old Hungarian literature, the Hungarian interpretations of real and fictitious celestial phenomena, and the 16th century cosmological theories by authors like Copernicus, Tycho and Kepler, together with their reception in Hungary in the Early Modern Period.