Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The science of the stars in Danzig from Rheticus to Hevelius /

  • Author(s): Jensen, Derek
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation asks how civic institutions (the city council and the academic gymnasium), socio-economic structures (civic and private patronage) and religion and civic ideals in the city of Danzig shaped creative thought about the science of the stars during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Reciprocally, it looks at how the use of scientific knowledge created distinctive representations of the city both as it appeared to its own citizens and as it was presented to others outside of the city walls. By employing a variety of sources, including Latin texts, printed prognostications, astrological and astronomical pamphlets, handwritten marginalia, German poetry, artwork (both printed illustrations and freestanding pieces), travelers' accounts, personal correspondence and funeral sermons, I explore how those who lived in Danzig represented their observations of the stars. While concentrating on Danzig, the dissertation compares and contrasts experiences in Danzig to other places. Examples of comparisons are those in chapters 1 and 4, which compare systems of courtly patronage found in other European cities with systems of civic and private patronage found in Danzig. Chapter 2 considers the books of Peter Crüger (1580-1639), professor of mathematics and poetry in the Danzig gymnasium, and his concern to remain within the bounds of correct Lutheran doctrine. He wrote at a time when Lutherans held powerful positions within city government and in the administration of the gymnasium. In chapter 3, I focus on the writings of Peter Crüger's pupil, Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664). Gryphius later became a celebrated German poet and statesman. Understanding his stay in Danzig and his studies under Crüger, I argue, are vital to understanding his poetry, plays and prose. Chapters 5 through 7 concentrate on another of Crüger's students, namely, Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687). Chapter 5 studies Hevelius's first major publication, Selenographia (1647) and argues that Hevelius's concern to honor his city was intimately connected to the creation and final production of Selenographia. In Chapter 6, I examine the frontispiece to Hevelius's posthumously published Uranographia (1690). The frontispiece is an allegorical depiction of the "Last Judgment" of Hevelius and his astronomical works. Hevelius's "Last Judgment" resembles in form and content other judgment scene paintings in Danzig. The final chapter compares and contrasts the lives of Hevelius and Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) using a sermon given at Hevelius's funeral as the primary text of analysis

Main Content
Current View