Cosmographical Styles at the <i>Casa, Consejo</i>, and <i>Corte</i>

in Secret Science

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675343
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675374 | DOI:
Cosmographical Styles at the Casa, Consejo, and Corte

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This chapter shows cosmography at a turning point. Fifty years of trying to incorporate knowledge of the New World into the cosmographical corpus had highlighted some deficiencies within cosmographical practice. Two aspects receive particular attention: the inadequacy of the traditional modes of textual representation associated with Renaissance cosmography and the question of personal agency in cosmographical work. The chapter focuses on how royal cosmographer Alonso de Santa Cruz (c. 1505–67) and Philip II's right-hand man on scientific matters, Juan de Herrera (1530–97), addressed what they perceived as a tension between traditional modes of cosmographical production and the knowledge needed for the imperial program. In response, they developed distinctive styles of cosmographical practice, molded in large part by each institution's administrative duties and, increasingly, by a preference for either mathematical or didactic cosmographical tools to explicate the New World.

Keywords: Renaissance cosmography; textual representation; personal agency; cosmographers; de Santa Cruz; Juan de Herrera; cosmographical practice

Chapter.  19250 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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