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Biography of Jerónimo Muñoz (ca. 1520-ca. 1591)

Teaching and scientific Spanish, born in Valencia to 1520 and died in Salamanca around the year 1591.

He studied at the University of Valencia, where he earned in 1537 the title of Bachelor of Arts and, shortly after, master's. Some authors claim that he also studied medicine, but this end is not documented. He traveled through Europe during the following years with the idea of completing their training, and for some years held the Chair of Hebrew in the University of Ancona. An Italian witness of the time has made thinking possible to convert as: "The Munyocio, called the Valencian, spoke Hebrew with select perfection, as if it had raised and educated between Hebrews".

Back in Spain, he observed in 1556, in Elche, large comet appeared then, observation that said as well as omens of the phenomenon in an appendix to the book of the new Comet. In Valencia she taught privately mathematics until 1563, date in which he was appointed Professor of Hebrew; in 1565 he joined both chairs, in which remained until 1578. In Valencia, Muñoz developed an intense didactic and scientific activity that was reflected in several works published in mathematics and astronomy, as well as many others that were handwritten; It took intensive training with his disciples, including the astrologer and geographer Bartolomé Antist and Pedro Ruiz, who was the author of an excellent Treaty of sundials (1575).

Its prestige as a mathematician was increasing progressively, to the end that was required by Felipe II to make levelling of two rivers, in order to bring water to Murcia, Lorca and Cartagena, on the occasion of which Muñoz determined with remarkable precision the latitude of locations. In 1578, he accepted the offer of the University of Salamanca to occupy the Chair of astrology of this institution, probably attracted by the salary increase involving such offer in relation to that received at the University of Valencia.

In Salamanca also formed some prominent disciples, as Diego Lava, author of an important artillery treatise entitled the perfect captain instructed in military discipline, and new science of artillery (1590). In this work Lava concerns the experiences carried out by his teacher Jerónimo Muñoz aimed to refute the so-called Tartaglia that the increase in the scope of the projectiles is the same for each degree of elevation of the piece. Another disciple of Muñoz in Salamanca was Antonio Núñez Zamora, also a Professor of mathematics and astronomy and author of an interesting treatise on the supernova of 1604 (1610).

In 1582, Muñoz attempted to return to Valencia, managing through his disciple Bartolomé Antist re-entry into their old chairs of Hebrew and mathematics. Jurors agreed to grant him a salary of 100 pounds for each Chair more 50 as an aid for the costs of transfer. He should not satisfy the proposal, because it remained in Salamanca, where he also began to teach Hebrew until his death.

The first work published by Muñoz is an arithmetic treatise entitled Institutiones Arithmeticae ad percipiendam Astrologiam et mathematics facultates necessariae. As title suggests, it is a text designed specifically for teaching and mainly aimed at providing the knowledge of arithmetic necessary for astronomical calculations. In this sense, perhaps the most prominent aspect of the book is precisely insistence on applications to astronomy. Muñoz explains arithmetic operations with examples in decimal notation and decimal and studying the proportions and the arithmetic and geometric progressions.

His second and most important published work is the book of the new Comet. It is a research about the 'nova' from 1572, identified by astronomers of the 20th century as a type I supernova. As it is known, this star and works and problems to which it gave rise, it marks an important stage in the process of abandonment of Aristotelian and medieval cosmology, and the progressive replacement of it by the idea of a universe that is infinite - or indefinite - of modern physics and astronomy. Among these works, Muñoz remarks were among the most early and accurate of those published in Europe. Valencian astronomer wrote his request of Felipe II and with the explicit purpose to prove that the "nova" was located on the celestial sphere and that, therefore, this produced alterations and changes facing the traditional Aristotelian doctrine which meant. The show is based on the determination of the Parallax of a star, that allows to estimate the distance of the Earth. Muñoz found, based on various measurements and calculations, that the Parallax of the "nova" was insensitive, test that could not be a "sublunary" body.

The position of the "nova" established concerning "a, b and g Cassiopea", with which they formed a figure "almost Rhombus". In addition, it calculated independently the Equatorial and ecliptic coordinates of the star. Muñoz called the 'Nova' kite, although it did not point out that "in no author hallo kite similar to this one, which most it seems star to commit" and "the our kite up to now has kept inviolablemente the laws of motion of the first mobile, as if Star fixa". For this reason, Muñoz error should be evaluated based on explanatory criteria that scientists of that time had to give an account of the nature and causes of this new star. In this sense, the reasons for other authors, such as Tycho Brahe, to call star were not much better than the Muñoz to its nomenclature. The book of the new Comet was translated into French and published in Paris the following year of its emergence in Spanish. Observations and considerations of Jerónimo Muñoz on the phenomenon were widely disseminated throughout Europe, and were commended by several authors, among others by Cornelius Gemma of Louvain and Thaddaeus Hagecius of Bohemia. Tycho Brahe devoted a chapter in his Astronomiae Instauratae Progymnasmata will discuss the works of Muñoz and in various passages of the work compares the observations of this with their own. On the other hand, Muñoz had correspondence with some European astronomers apropos of the "supernova", in particular with Bartolomacus Reisacherus of Vienna and Thaddaeus Hagecius, letters which were commended in the latter directed by Tycho Brahe in the mentioned chapter.

In addition to the works mentioned above, Muñoz published in 1578 a brief eight-page brochure on the Comet of 1577, of interest much lower than his treatise on "nova" of 1572. Only handwritten works could be found a treatise of astrology, probably autograph, dedicated to discuss the Treaty on this matter of Abu - al - Saqr Abd to the ' Aziz Ibn Uthman ibn Ali al-Qabisi (Alchabitius), translated into latin in the 12th century by Juan of Seville and printed several times in the 15th and 16th centuries. Rodríguez claims to have seen the manuscripts of Muñoz Interpretatio sex books in Euclid and planispherii parallelogrammi inventione and the own Muñoz, in the book of the new Comet, alludes to several of his handwritten works of astrology. Some authors also cite a geography treatise entitled geographical reading, allegedly printed in 1577, and another manuscript of the same subject entitled geographical description of Spain, which probably is the same work. These works of geography of Muñoz were disseminated in the environment of the Valencian, being widely used by scholars compatriots of the astronomer, who always cite him as an authority.



Institutiones arithmeticas ad Astrologicam percipiendam et mathematics facultates necessariae, Valencia, J. Mey, 1566. Book of the new Comet, and the place where is hazen; and as is vera by the Parallaxes quan oft are on Earth; and the forecast deste, Valencia, Pedro de Huete, 1573; work in which there is a French translation in Paris, Martin Lejeune, 1574. Summa of the prognosis of the Comet: and the Ecclipse of the Moon, which was the year 1577 12 hours, 11 minutes, September 26: Comet which has been caused, by Bliss Ecclipse, Valencia, J. Navarro, 1578.En the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek is preserved a manuscript copy made by Tycho Brahe a Charter of Muñoz to Bartholomaeus Reisacherus.El book of the new Comet and the Summa of the forecast have been republished in facsimilealong with editing and transcription of the aforementioned copy chart of Muñoz, in Valencia, Hispaniae Scientia, 1981, with introduction of Víctor Navarro Brotons.el Astrology manuscript mentioned in the text is preserved in the National Library of Madrid with the title In Isagogas principiis agdilasi Servi dei Astrorum Apotelesmatis Alcabiciis gloriosi elucubratio Geronimo Muñoz.


RODRÍGUEZ, José. Valentina library, (Valencia: 1747), (p. 169).PICATOSTE RODRÍGUEZ, f. Notes for a 16th-century Spanish scientific library. (Madrid: Tello, 1891), (pp. 204-207).FERNÁNDEZ DE NAVARRETE, M. Spanish maritime library. (Madrid: Vda of Calero, 1851), (vol. I, pp. 573-579).COLATERO VALLEDOR, Armando. "The mystery of the star. A Spanish clarifies it (Jerónimo Muñoz) ", in Boletín de la Real Sociedad geographic, 79 (1943), pp." 12-35.VERNET, Juan. "A Spanish astronomer of the 16th century", Physis, 12 (1970), pp. 88-90.HELLMAN, Doris C. in The New Star of 1572: its Place in the History of Astronomy, Actes du IX Congrès Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences. (Barcelona-Madrid: 1959), (pp. 482-487).NAVARRO BROTONS, Víctor. The astronomical work of Jerónimo Muñoz, (introduction to re-edition facsimile of Muñoz texts cited above).

Víctor Navarro Brotons


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