Opera Mathematica of Christoph Clavius

This Web site is humbly dedicated to the memory of Reverend Father Joseph MacDonnell, S.J.

May 4, 1929 to June 14, 2005.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Sundial

 

OVERVIEW

ABOUT CLAVIUS

Biography

Links

 

ABOUT THE CLAVIUS PROJECT

Translation into English

Navigating the site

Missing pages

Copyright information

History of the digitization project

Bibliographic information

Links

 

 

OVERVIEW

The Opera Mathematica of Christoph Clavius was compiled in 1611-1612 and contains works within the fields of both pure and applied mathematics. One of the most famous selections from this set is, of course, Clavius exposition of the Gregorian calendar.  As Fr. MacDonnell wrote in 2001, “He was considered an illustrious mathematician and astronomer; one to whom scholars and potentates would entrust with the most sensitive scientific problems of the day. Even so, he has yet to be given full credit for all of his scientific accomplishments.”  By making his work more accessible, this project is an attempt to give Christoph Clavius full credit.

 

ABOUT CLAVIUS

Biography of Clavius

“Christopher Clavius (1538-1612):  His Contributions to Mathematics and Astronomy”

Joseph MacDonnell, S.J., July, 2001

Some time ago, a New York Times front page story (7/6/79) related discoveries by astronomers that the sun is shrinking. Their evidence focused on a ring of light at total eclipse which had been meticulously recorded by the sixteenth century Jesuit astronomer Christopher Clavius. Today that ring is missing. It is this kind of periodic intervention into the development of astronomy that has earned Clavius a place of esteem in every significant history of science for the past four centuries. His name is inscribed in stone on libraries and universities such as the Sorbonne and portraits of him hang in museums throughout the world. For his innovations in the “Gregorian” calendar reform, he appears on the tomb of Pope Gregory in the Vatican while one of the largest craters on the moon is named in his honor. His works are described in the earliest editions of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Records of scientific correspondence, such as the twelve volume Mersenne collection have very many entries concerning him. Mathematicians such as Kepler, Descartes, and Leibniz acknowledged Clavius as a source of their inspiration. Pope Sixtus V said, and later historians have echoed the sentiment: “Had the Jesuit order produced nothing more than this Clavius, on this account alone the order should be complimented.” He was considered an illustrious mathematician and astronomer; one to whom scholars and potentates would entrust with the most sensitive scientific problems of the day. Even so, he has yet to be given full credit for all of his scientific accomplishments….

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Links to Information about Clavius

 

 

ABOUT THE CLAVIUS PROJECT

Translation into English

Except for the Commentary on Theodosius (1721) and the Commentary on John of Holywood’s Spheres (1784), there are no English translations of Clavius’ works.  For this project, the preface to the Opera Mathematica was translated into English by John Blanton, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY.  A special icon Full Text indicates its availability, and clicking on the icon displays the translation in a special pop-up window.  If you translate any part of Clavius’ text into English, please send an electronic version to Parker Ladwig, ladwig.1@nd.edu, Mathematics Library, University of Notre Dame.  He would be glad to work out the copyright details with you.

 

Navigating the site

On the left panel, you find an expanding (and collapsible) English table of contents.  Links to the equivalent of a chapter have been included only for long works.  At the bottom of the left panel, you find a tool for finding a specific page, “Go to Page.”  Clavius’ text itself is not searchable, but you can quickly get to a specific page using pull down menus and then the list of pages for a specific work.

In the center panel, you find images of the text.  These are small JPG images designed to look as if you were paging through the book.  Use the right arrow Right Arrow and left arrow Left Arrow icon to browse.  Click on the text, and you generate a pop-up window with a larger JPG image designed to be read.  Click on the printer icon Printer, and you generate a pop-up window with the largest JPG image designed for printing on an 8 ½” by 11” page.

The works are written in Latin, but some pages have been translated into English.

Where an English translation is available, a special icon Full Text appears.  Clicking on the icon will display the translation in a special pop-up window.  If you would like to provide an English translation for text you have been working on, please send an electronic version to Parker Ladwig, ladwig.1@nd.edu, Mathematics Library, University of Notre Dame.

 

Missing pages
The 1967 microfilm from St. Louis University, from which these images were digitized, is missing several pages. Images for the missing pages were obtained with the gracious assistance of the Linda Hall Library and the University of Chicago Library as indicated below:

Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
Commentary on Euclid, I, pp. 80-81
Commentary on Euclid, X, pp. 420-421
On Secant and Tangent Lines, pp. 74-75
Practical Geometry, IV, pp. 112-113
Algebra, pp. 126-127 and pp. 152-153

University of Chicago Library
Gnomonics, I, pp. 22-23
Gnomonics, II, pp. 176-177
New Description of the Sun Dial, Brief Compendium, pp. 216-217
Roman Calendar of Gregory XIII, Calendar, pp. 182-183, pp. 190-191, pp.
208-209, pp. 226-227, and pp. 280-281

 

Copyright information

Except for the pages supplied by the Linda Hall Library and the University of Chicago Library (see Missing pages above) the JPG images of pages from the Opera Mathematica are not copyright protected. For permission to use the Linda Hall Library or University of Chicago Library images please contact the Mathematics Librarian at the University of Notre Dame.

Translations of Clavius’ text are copyright protected as of 2005 by the Mathematics Library of the University of Notre Dame.

The Clavius Web site is copyright protected as of 2005 by the University Libraries of Notre Dame.

The page-turner software is copyright protected as of 2005 by the University Libraries of Notre Dame, but is distributable using the GNU General Public License.  For more information about the page-turner software, please contact:

Digital Access and Information Architecture Department

University Libraries of Notre Dame

211 Hesburgh Library

Notre Dame, IN 46556

 

History of the digitization project

 

 

Bibliographic information

Personal Name: Clavius, Christoph, 1538-1612.

Uniform Title:  Works. 1612

Title:  Opera mathematica of Christoph Clavius [electronic resource]

Varying Form Titles

Pub. Dist., etc.:  Moguntiae : Sumptibus Antonii Hierat, excudebat Reinhardus Eltz [Ioannes Volmari], Anno 1611-1612.

Phys. Description: 5 v. ; ill. ; 34 cm.

General Notes:

Formated Contents:

General Note:  Digital reproduction of 35 mm microfilm by St. Louis University in 1967 of the Mainz 1611-1612 edition of Clavius' Opera mathematica.

Reproduction Note:  Electronic reproduction. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library, 2005.

Mode of access: JPEG files accessible via the internet.

System requirements: Browser.

LC Subjects:

Subject Names:

 

Links for the Project