VIDAL Silvina Paula
congresos y reuniones científicas
Literally sources of Waldseemüller´s cosmology and its relation with Copernicanism
Rio de Janeiro
Congreso; 25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology; 2017
Institución organizadora:
Sociedade Brasileira de Historia da Ciencia
In this paper we propose a series of hypothesis on Martin Waldseemüller's enigmatic cartographic representations of 1507, highlighting the connections between his cosmography and Copernican cosmology. Not much is known about Waldseemüller life and career: he studied at the University of Freiburg in 1490, and belonged to a group of humanist scholars (Matthias Ringmann, Gauthier Ludd), which related to cathedral school of St. Die, worked under the patronage of Duke René II of Lorraine. By looking carefully at Waldseemüller's cartographic representations and the cosmographical treaty (the Cosmographia introductio) that accompanies them, we will examine how this German cartographer, assisted by Ringmann, elaborates a hybrid image of the world, employing a variety of different literary sources from Homer and Virgil, to Pomponius Mela, Henricus Martellus, the travels of Marco Polo and the more recent accounts of Americo Vespucci. Special attention will be given to the role that a peculiar reading of Vespucci?s accounts played in the conceptualization of America as a fourth part of the world. The process implied a thorough review of the philosophical speculations on the tradition related to the characteristics of the Earth. By covering 360° degrees, Waldseemüller world map doubled the Ptolemaic representation and encouraged the re-examination of the measurements of both the Earth and the universe. In turn, this strengthened the widespread idea of earth movement; two key issues in the history and development of Modern science. Furthermore, exploring the intersections between the work of Waldseemüller and Copernicus, will allow us to consider the typical achievements and contradictions of Renaissance science, to argue their peculiar way of understanding the discovery of new lands, and to determine the consequences of how information was processed.