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Andreas Cellarius: Hypothesis Ptolemaica, sive Communis Planetarum Motus per Eccentricos et Epicyclos Demonstrans

Map: CELEST1336
Cartographer: Andreas Cellarius
Title: Hypothesis Ptolemaica, sive Communis Planetarum Motus per Eccentricos et Epicyclos Demonstrans
Date: 1661
Published: Amsterdam
Width: 21 inches / 54 cm
Height: 18 inches / 46 cm
Map ref: CELEST1336
Splendid example of Cellarius's celestial diagram illustrating epicycles and eccentricities of planetary orbits, key components of the Classical Ptolemaic Solar System model. This diagram does not refer to any specific planet's motion, but rather to the general motion it was believed all of the known celestial bodies followed according to Ptolemaic theory. The epicycle was a smaller circle along which the planets were believed to rotate while also following their larger orbits. The two, small yellow circles above and below the central cross of the diagram are both epicycles. This theory helped to explain why the Sun, the Moon, and the planets were occasionally seen to be moving in reverse, or retrograde to the Earth. It also explained why the distance of these bodies from the Earth changed during the year even though Ptolemaic theory assumed the orbits to be perfect circles.

In typical Cellarius fashion, the margins are filled with glorious Rococo scrollwork, though there are none of the usual putti or allegorical figures. There are also two smaller diagrams explaining the motion of the Sun around the Earth - one focusing on the concept of eccentricity and the other on epicycles.

Andreas Cellarius's celestial charts are some of the most decorative ever published and are highly sought-after for their combination of Dutch Golden age beauty and their scientific content. These maps were published at a time when the classical cosmologies of the ancient Greeks were at last being challenged by the new, emerging theories of contemporary scholars, such as Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus. To find out more about Andreas Cellarius's maps, read our extended blog post - "Finding our place in the Universe" - on The Map House blog.

Rich original hand colour. [CELEST1336]