Thus, he is also called Johannes Müller, der Königsberger (Johannes Müller of Königsberg). His full Latin name was Joannes de Regio monte, which abbreviated to Regiomontanus (from the Latin for "Königsberg"—"King's Mountain").
In the Epytoma he critiqued the translation, pointing out inaccuracies. Later Nicolaus Copernicus would refer to this book as an influence on his own work. In 1467 Regiomontanus left Rome to work at the court of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. There he calculated extensive astronomical tables and built astronomical instruments.
In 1471 he moved to the Free City of Nuremberg, in Franconia, then one of the Empire's important seats of learning, publication, commerce and art. He associated with the humanist and merchant Bernhard Walther who sponsored the observatory and the printing press. Regiomontanus remains famous for having built at Nuremberg the first astronomical observatory in Germany. In 1472 he published the first printed astronomical textbook, the "Theoricae novae Planetarum" of his teacher Georg von Peurbach. Peurbach worked at the Observatory of Großwardein (Oradea) in Transylvania, the first in Europe, and established in his "Tabula Varadiensis" this Transylvanian town's observatory as lying on the prime meridian of Earth.
In 1475 he went to Rome to work with Pope Sixtus IV on calendar reform. On the way he could publish his "Ephemeris" in Venice. Regiomontanus died mysteriously in Rome, July 61476, a month after his fortieth birthday. Some say he died of plague, others by (more likely) assassination.
A prolific author, Regiomontanus was internationally famous already in his lifetime. Despite having completed only a quarter of what he had intended to write, he left a substantial body of work. Domenico Maria Novara da Ferrara, the teacher of Nicolaus Copernicus, referred to Regiomontanus as having been his own teacher.
It is not true that he came to be called posthumously after the place of his birth, Königsberg/Bavaria (in Latin, Regiomontanus). In Regiomontanus' day it was common for scholars to Latinize their names when publishing.
He is known for having built one of the most famous automata, the wooden eagle of Regiomontanus, which flew from the city of Königsberg to meet the emperor, saluted him, and returned. He also built an iron fly of which it is said it flew out of Regiomontanus's hands at a feast, and taking a round, returned to him.
In 1561, Daniel Santbech compiled a collected edition of the works of Regiomontanus, De triangulis planis et sphaericis libri quinque (first published in 1533) and Compositio tabularum sinum recto, as well as Santbech's own Problematum astronomicorum et geometricorum sectiones septem. It was published in Basel by Henrich Petri and Petrus Perna.
In his youth, Regiomontanus had cast horoscopes (natal charts) for famous patrons. His Tabulae directionum, completed in Hungary, were designed for astrological use and contained a discussion of different ways of determining astrological houses. The calendars for 1475-1531 which he printed at Nuremberg contained only limited astrological information—a method of finding times for bloodletting according to the position of the moon; subsequent editors added material.
But perhaps the works most indicative of Regiomontanus' hopes for an empirically sound astrology were his almanacs or ephemerides, produced first in Vienna for his own benefit, and printed in Nuremberg for the years 1475-1506. Weather predictions and observations were juxtaposed by Regiomontanus in his manuscript almanacs, and the form of the printed text enabled scholars to enter their own weather observations in order to likewise check astrological predictions; extant copies reveal that several did so. Regiomontanus' Ephemeris would be used in 1504, by a Christopher Columbus stranded on Jamaica, to intimidate the natives into continuing to provision him and his crew from their scanty food stocks, when he successfully predicted a lunar eclipse for February 29, 1504.
Regiomontanus did not live to produce the special commentary to the ephemerides that he had promised would reveal the advantages the almanacs held for the multifarious activities of physicians, for human births and the telling of the future, for weather forecasting, for the inauguration of employment, and for a host of other activities, although this lack was again made good by subsequent editors. Nevertheless Regiomontanus' promise suggests that he either was as convinced of the validity and utility of astrology as his contemporaries, or was willing to set aside his misgivings for the sake of commercial success.
Astrolabes and angels, epigrams and enigmas; from Regiomontanus' acrostic for Cardinal Bessarion to Piero della Francesca's Flagellation of Christ. (CD-ROM included).(Brief article)(Book review)
Aug 01, 2008; 9783515090612 Astrolabes and angels, epigrams and enigmas; from Regiomontanus' acrostic for Cardinal Bessarion to Piero...