Sphaera Mundi sive Cosmographia Quinque recens auctis & emedatis absolutain qua tum prima astronomiae pars, rum geographie, ac hydrographie, rudimenta pertractatur.

£2,000

Sphaera Mundi sive Cosmographia Quinque recens auctis & emedatis absolutain qua tum prima astronomiae pars, rum geographie, ac hydrographie, rudimenta pertractatur.

Paris: Vascosan, 1551. 4to, illustrated throughout, one woodcut printed in red and black, bound in contemporary limp vellum.

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Paris: Vascosan, 1551. 4to, illustrated throughout, one woodcut printed in red and black, bound in contemporary limp vellum.

Born in Briançon, the son and grandson of physicians, Oronce Fine was educated in Paris (Collège de Navarre) and obtained a degree in medicine in 1522. He was imprisoned in 1524, probably for practicing judicial astrology. In 1531, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Collège Royal (the present Collège de France), founded by King Francis I, where he taught until his death.

In 1542 Fine published De mundi sphaera [On the Heavenly Spheres], a popular astronomy textbook whose woodcut illustrations were much appreciated. His writing on astronomy included guides to the use of astronomical equipment and methods (e.g. the ancient practice of determining longitude through the coordinated observation of lunar eclipses from two fixed points with enough distance between them to make the phenomena appear at different times of the night). He also described more recent innovations, such as an instrument he called a méthéoroscope (an astrolabe modified by adding a compass). His woodcut map of France (1525) is one of the first of its kind. He also constructed an ivory sundial in 1524, which still exists.

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