Petrus Apianus

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Born in Saxony as Peter Bienewitz, Petrus Apianus was a prolific publisher of mathematical and astronomical texts. Apianus was educated at Leipzig University. His most distinguished patron was Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who commissioned Apianus’ greatest work, the Astronomicum Caesareum (1540). This book included twenty-one volvelles, which could theoretically be used to calculate everything from eclipses to the time of a baby’s conception. The Astronomicum made Apianus famous, earning him the positions of Imperial Knight and Imperial Court Palatine in Charles V’s court. Apianus was known for making cosmography accessible to his readers, which can be seen in his earlier text, the Cosmographia (1524). It used interactive paper instruments to explain sixteenth century innovations and ancient knowledge.

Black and white portrait of Petrus Apianus in an oval frame, a man with a beard and short dark hair. He is wearing a hat and robes. Around the outside of the oval frame there are decorative illustrations of insects and flowers.