Astronomy in medieval Latin manuscripts and old prints.
II. Magister Iohannes Andreae called Sindel

Grant No. 405/00/1543 supported by Grant Agency of the Czech Republic in the years 2000-2002.

Principal Investigator: Alena Hadravova
Institute for Classical Studies, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic,
Na Florenci 3, 11000 Praha 1, Czech Republic

Co-investigator:Petr Hadrava
Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic,
251 65 Ondrejov, Czech Republic

Short characteristics of the project from the grant proposal:

The goal of the proposed project is to continue in the study of the mediaeval Latin astronomical manuscripts and old prints especially of the Czech origin and making them accessible in the form of editions with critical apparatus, supplemented with translation, interpretation and explicatory comments from the point of view of both the European context of that time and the present knowledge of the astronomy. By treating the astronomical work of the magister of Prague Charles University Iohannes Sindel (14th/15th century) this project should continue in the successful results of the previous project devoted to M. Cristannus de Prachaticz.

Basic facts about Iohannes Sindel:

He was born probably in 1375 in Hradec Kralove (Bohemia). He became a bachelor in 1395 and in February 1399 master (magister arcium) on Prague University. He was the rector of the school at St. Nicholas in the Small Town in Prague from 1406, later he was a teacher of mathematics in Wien, where he studied on the Faculty of Medicine. After his return to Prague he became professor of astronomy on Charles University. Later, in 1410, he became a doctor of medicine, the rector of Prague University and private physician of the king Wenceslas IV. He was also a friend of John Hus. In the period of Hussite wars he was in exile in the Moravian town Olomouc and later he was the physician of the town of Nurnberg (1423-1436 ?) and then - from 1432 - private physician of the emperor Sigismund. In 1436 he returned to Prague. In 1441 he became the dean of Vysehrad capitol. He died between 1455 and 1458.
Magister Iohannes is renowned as the astronomer in collaboration with whom the clockmaker Nicolaus of Kadan constructed the famous Astronomical Clock of Prague in 1410 (this dating was done by Z. Horsky, cf. e.g. his 'Prazsky orloj'. Praha, Panorama 1988). According to testimony of Tycho Brahe, Sindel also performed valuable astronomical observations. Recently, Sindel's theoretical treatises on the construction and the use of astronomical instruments were identified. Critical edition of his treatise 'Canones pro eclipsibus Solis et Lune per instrumentum ad hoc factum inveniendis Magistri Iohannis Sindel' (it means 'The rules for a calculation of Sun's and Moon's eclipses according to the instrument invented by Iohannes Sindel') is now in preparation. This treatise is - as far as we know - preserved in three mss. only (two are in Wien, ONB 5415, fol. 133r-141r; ONB 5412, fol. 161r-174r; one in Nurnberg, Stadtbibliothek Cent. V. 58, fol. 116vb-121va). Sindel's eclipse instrument (or rather a nomogram for demonstration), which is described in treatise, was derived from Wallingford's albion (cf. 'Richard of Wallingford.' An edition of his writings with introductions, English translation and commentary by J.D. North. I-III, Oxford, Clarendon Press 1976). All three known manuscripts of Sindel's treatise are in convoluts together with either Wallingford's Albion or its version enlarged by Iohannes von Gmunden. The edition of the later will be also added for comparison. (By the way, Sindel's tract, being in convoluts near by similar treatise by Iohannes von Gmunden, is extant not only in the case of the treatise on eclipse instrument; quite analogical example is for instance ms. Wien ONB 5303, where is Iohannes von Gmunden's treatise on cylinder (on folios 228r-242r; cf. edition by P. Uiblein, 'Der Tractatus Cylindri des Johannes von Gmunden'. In: Beitrage zur Kopernikusforschung. Katalog des Oberosterreichischen Landesmuseums Nr. 86, Hrsg. im Kopernikusjahr, Linz 1973.) and immediatelly after it other treatise on the same instrument follows, attributed to Iohannes Sindel /fol. 269r-273v/.) This illustrates the connections between Prague and Wien astronomical schools.

See also the previous grant on Cristannus de Prachaticz

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Petr Hadrava,
Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic,
251 65 Ondrejov,
Czech Republic,
tlf.: +420 204 620 141;
fax: +420 - 204 - 620 110.
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