Renaissance SCIENCE

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Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki



During the Renaissance, great advances occurred in geography, astronomy, chemistry, physics, math, manufacturing, and engineering. The rediscovery of ancient scientific texts was accelerated after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, and the invention of printing which would democratize learning and allow a faster propagation of new ideas. But, at least in its initial period, some see the Renaissance as one of scientific backwardness. Historians like George Sarton and Lynn Thorndike have criticized how the Renaissance affected science, arguing that progress was slowed for some amount of time. Humanists favored human-centered subjects like politics and history over study of natural philosophy or applied mathematics. Others have focused on the positive influence of the Renaissance, pointing to factors like the rediscovery of lost or obscure texts and the increased emphasis on the study of language and the correct reading of texts.


Marie Boas Hall coined the term Scientific Renaissance to designate the early phase of the Scientific Revolution. More recently, Peter Dear has argued for a two-phase model of early modern science: a Scientific Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries, focused on the restoration of the natural knowledge of the ancients; and a Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, when scientists shifted from recovery to innovation.


The 14th century saw the beginning of the cultural movement of the Renaissance. The rediscovery of ancient texts was accelerated after the Fall of Constantinople, in 1453, when many Byzantine scholars had to seek refuge in the West, particularly Italy. Also, the invention of printing was to have great effect on European society: the facilitated dissemination of the printed word democratized learning and allowed a faster propagation of new ideas. But this initial period is usually seen as one of scientific backwardness. There were no new developments in physics or astronomy, and the reverence for classical sources further enshrined the Aristotelian and Ptolemaic views of the universe. Philosophy lost much of its rigour as the rules of logic and deduction were seen as secondary to intuition and emotion. At the same time, Humanism stressed that nature came to be viewed as an animate spiritual creation that was not governed by laws or mathematics. Science would only be revived later, with such figures as Copernicus, Francis Bacon, and Descartes.


Sometime around 1450, mathematician Georg Purbach (1423–1461) began a series of lectures on astronomy at the University of Vienna. Regiomontanus (1436–1476), who was then one of his students, collected his notes on the lecture and later published them as Theoricae novae planetarum in the 1470s. This "New Theorica" replaced the older theorica as the textbook of advanced astronomy. Purbach also began to prepare a summary and commentary on the Almagest. He died after completing only six books, however, and Regiomontanus continued the task, consulting a Greek manuscript brought from Constantinople by Cardinal Bessarion. When it was published in 1496, the Epitome of the Almagest made the highest levels of Ptolemaic astronomy widely accessible to many European astronomers for the first time. The last major event in Renaissance astronomy is the work of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543). He was among the first generation of astronomers to be trained with the Theoricae novae and the Epitome. Shortly before 1514 he began to explore a shocking new idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He spent the rest of his life attempting a mathematical proof of heliocentrism. When De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was finally published in 1543, Copernicus was on his deathbed. A comparison of his work with the Almagest shows that Copernicus was in many ways a Renaissance scientist rather than a revolutionary, because he followed Ptolemy's methods and even his order of presentation. In astronomy, the Renaissance of science can be said to have ended with the truly novel works of Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) and Galileo Galilei (1564–1642).





Renaissance scholars relied heavily on the rediscovery of properties laid out by Marcus Vitruvius (c. 80 B.C - 15 B.C.) preserved for all time the methods and properties of architecture and engineering in his treatise De Architectura (The Ten Books on Architecture). Building on his scientific foundations, the court scientists at Urbino and elsewhere helped usher civilization into the Age of Scientific Discovery. Vitruvius's work made an enormous impact on Leonardo da Vinci - his drawing of the "Vitruvian Man" has come to symbolize the harmony and balance of all Renaissance works.

Ptolemaic Universe


The Ptolemaic universe from Andrew Borde's The First Book of the Introduction of Knowledge, 1542.


Medieval Cosmology
Medieval cosmology was centered around the concept of the Ptolemaic universe, named after Greek astronomer Ptolemy (ca. 150 CE). In this geocentric (earth-centered) model, the earth was the motionless center of the universe, with the rest of the universe revolving around it in spheres. Ptolemy's work was based on Aristotle's (384-322 BCE) idea of an ordered universe, divided into the sublunary, or earthly, region which was changeable and corruptible, and the heavenly region, which was immutable and perfect. Aristotle posited that the heavens contained 55 spheres, with the Primum Mobile, "Prime Mover" or "First Moveable", giving motion to all the spheres within it.

Centermost in this cosmology was the Earth. The sublunary sphere was comprised of the four elements (earth, water, fire, and air). Next followed the spheres of the 7 planets (which included the sun and the moon). After these came the Circle of the Fixed Stars (including the signs of the Zodiac). Outermost in this scheme was the Primum Mobile, sometimes divided into three spheres of the Crystalline Heaven, the First Moveable, and the Empyrean, or highest heaven.

While not scientifically supportable, this cosmology was eagerly embraced and adapted to fit Medieval theology. The Prime Mover became the Christian God, the outermost sphere became heaven, and the earth was the center of God's attention. The spheres, moved by the Prime Mover, existed and rotated in perfect harmony, creating the “music of the spheres.” Man, habitant of the sublunary sphere which was corruptible since Adam's fall, could no longer hear this music. This worldview gave rise to further Medieval philosophical explanations of man's place in the universe, such as the concept of corresponding planes, and the idea of the Great Chain of Being, so prominent in Boethius and Chaucer, for example.

By the 17th century, the Copernican and Galilean models gained ground, and replaced this worldview. It was still an attractive philosophical construction and one that persisted for a long time in the collective Renaissance consciousness. Milton, who chose to use the Ptolemaic cosmology for his Paradise Lost, was not alone in Renaissance literature to hold on to the Medieval worldview, if not in scientific earnest, as a poetical conceit (cf. Donne's "The First Anniversary" and "Good Friday, 1613").


Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Spheres Surrounded by Angels
Brevari d'amour, late 14th c.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Cosmographical Diagram
Gossuin de Metz, 13th-c.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Spheres Between Heaven and Hell.
Neville of Hornby Hours, c1440?

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Earth at the center of the Spheres.
Copy of Gossuin de Metz, 13th c.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
From Les Echecs amoureux
MS for Louise of Savoy, 15th c.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Creation of the World,
Nuremberg Chronicles. 1492.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Livre du ciel et du monde,
Nicole Oresme, 1377.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Creation of the World, 4th Day
Nuremberg Chronicles. 1492.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Earthly Paradise
Nicolas de Lyre.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
The Sublunar Sphere
Brevari d'amour, late 14th c.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Cosmographical Diagram,
Les Echecs amoureux, 1496.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Cosmographical Diagram,
Gossuin de Metz, 13th-c.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Zodiacal Man
.Les Très Riches Heures
du Duc de Berry, 1413.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Zodiac and Planets Circling Earth
Sacrobosco, Sphaera Mundi, 15th-c.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Cosmographical diagram.
The Catalan Atlas , 14th-c.


Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Christ Holding the Universe.
Aristotle, Works on Natural Philosophy.
Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Elements and Humors.
Bartholomeus Anglicus, 15th-c.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
The Four Elements and
Signs of the Zodiac.
Bartholomeus Anglicus, 15th-c.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Zodiacal Man.
The Catalan Atlas , 14th-c.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Man: Body and Soul.
Bartholomeus Anglicus, 15th-c.

Renaissance Science - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Planisphere.
Codex Barberinianus, 15th-c.


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