The explanation of the Urania project
The interdisciplinary project incorporated with the title
Urania into the project
Clavis Monumentorum Litterarum
dates back to its initiator, Czech historian of astronomy, Dr.
Zdenek Horsky (1929-1988).
Its aim is to study the original medieval and early modern
astronomical texts and to make them accessible in the form
of (critical) editions with commented translations.
In the case of some rare medieval manuscripts and old prints,
the modern edition or some other form of documentation (e.g.
digitalization) means their rescue for the history.
In all cases, even of quite famous texts, the application of
the principle ad fontes enables either to verify but often
also to revise the opinions claimed in the secondary literature.
Reliable editions and translations of scientific texts cannot be
done without complete understanding of their meaning and a good
knowledge of related problems.
This is why the cooperation of classical philologist and
specialist in the particular science is inevitable.
From the nowadays point of view the astronomy may seem to be
a relatively unimportant discipline in the large variety of
sciences, many of which are of much higher and immediate
However, in the past the astronomy was crucial for orientation
of mankind in time and space.
As a one of the septem artes liberales it played very
important role in the medieval education.
Its importance in that time was also strengthened by the
astrological believes applied in many other fields (e.g. in the
medicine) and by the importance of the cosmological ideas
for the society.
But first of all, it must not be forgotten, that the astronomy
was one of the cornerstones of the scientific revolution which
promoted the rise and development of modern society.
It is given by the subject of its study that also the nowadays
astronomy or astrophysics is a frontier of the science.
This is why the mutual influence of astronomy and culture in
general is of particular interest.
Another reason, why the history of astronomy attracts
traditionally much larger attention than other sciences
is that due to the slowness of most astrophysical processes,
the historical records can only partly be substituted
by the increase of precision of modern instruments
(while in most other experimental sciences the old data surpassed
by new ones are mostly useless).
In the framework of the present project has been studied e.g.
the following texts:
For further information see the WWW page