Vedecké časopisy a ročenky vydávané na pôde SAV

Zoznam článkov

Slavica Slovaca

Volume 46, 2011, No. 3


  Dissertatio cosmographica seu De mundi systemate / Sústava sveta Kozmologická štúdia
Svorad Zavarský


As an eager pursuer of knowledge (curiosus) and a propagator of sciences, Martin Sentiváni wrote several tens of dissertations on a wide range of topics reaching from cosmology and astronomy to botany, mineralogy, medicine and psychology. All of these treatises were collected in the three-part œuvre entitled Curiosiora et selectiora variarum scientiarum miscellanea (Tyrnaviae 1689-1709). However, his 18th-century biographers indicate that his greatest interest lied in astronomy. From 1675, Sentiváni edited the astronomical yearbook Calendarium Tyrnaviense in which he also published many of the dissertations later included in Miscellanea. Dissertatio cosmographica seu De mundi systemate (On the World System) is the first dissertation of Miscellanea. It may be considered a basic text representing a general introduction to the subsequent dissertations that deal with more specific subjects. In his cosmology, Sentiváni follows the scholastic method of natural philosophy usually pursued at 17th-century universities (based on the commentaries to Aristotle’s De caelo). Nevertheless, he is not entirely dependent on his sources. In some cases, he turns out to be an autonomous thinker. First of all, Sentiváni’s text differs from the standard cosmological hand-books of the period (De cœlo et mundo) in that he pays extraordinary attention to the historical development of the world. Sentiváni makes history part of the cosmos. He even extends the Pseudo-Aristotelian definition of the world by introducing the historical dimension into it. (See § I. of this edition.) Second, he is strongly inclined to assert that the heavenly bodies move by their own force (a se, ab intrinseco) instead of being moved by angels. The latter explanation (i. e. the angelic causation of celestial movement) was the one generally accepted by the majority of astronomers and theologians of the 17th century. Third, his conception of the liquid sphere of the fixed stars enclosed in a solid ‚shell‘ (firmamentum) seems to form an intersection of the Tychonian cosmology pursued by the German Jesuits of Würzburg (C. Schott, M. Cornaeus) and the Semi-Tychonian system invented by the Italian Jesuit G.-B. Riccioli. The cosmic system Sentiváni presents at the end of his dissertation is essentialy that of G.-B. Riccioli (the so-called Systema Semi-Tychonicum). However, Sentiváni’s conception of the firmament differs from the one advocated by Riccioli. The text of De mundi sytemate presented in this edition is the one included in the first volume of Miscellanea published in 1689 in Trnava (Tyrnaviae). This was the second, corrected and extended edition of Sentiváni’s cosmological dissertation (referred to as B in this edition). The first edition was printed in the Trnava astronomical yearbook for the year 1678 (Calendarium olim Tyrnaviense, nunc Viennense). The critical apparatus is divided into four parts. In the first part, variant readings and spellings of the first edition (1678) as well as the editorial corrections of obvious errors are registered. The second part contains some minor variants of the first edition such as different punctuation, diacritics and capitalization. The references in the third part indicate which parts and passages are not found in the first edition (the text was substantially extended in the second edition). Finally, the references adduced in the fourth part of the apparatus give information about Sentiváni’s sources as the editor has been able to trace them.

Slavica Slovaca. Volume 46, 2011, No. 3: 3-154.