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Re: About Thaddeus Hajek
Many thanks to Rafal for his interesting (at least to me)
> [...] Hajek corresponded with many
> scientists throughout Europe and was responsible for
> bringing Tycho Brache and later Kepler to Prague
> (his correspondence with Brache is published).
My heroes :-)
Hajek was a close friend of Tycho. In fact I think
they first met at the coronation ceremony of Rudolf II.
But Tycho was not always happy with Hajek. Tycho's great
nemesis, the supposed charlatan Reymers a.k.a. 'Ursus' was
made court matematician by Hajek much to Tycho's chagrin.
> Of special interest in the context of VMs is
> his translation of the herbal by Andrew Mathiol
> (I am not sure of the original name), with
> illustrations of plants.
Pier Andrea Mattioli. We have to beware of a red herring
here. Mattioli has been brought in connection with the
VMs because someone read his name in a marginal note
on f17r of the VMs, but this cannot be corroborated.
I must admit that I am a bit confused about the Mattioli/
Hajek connnection. To my understanding, the herbal in
question is essentially Dioscorides', but it deserves
special interest since it was written not in Latin but
in the vernacular (in this case Czech). Now whether
Hajek or Mattioli was responsible for the Czech version
in unclear to me. I have also seen a reference to Hajek
as a student of Mattioli...
> Finally - and interestingly for VMs - there is a short
> statement in _Ottuv slovnik naucny_ that "besides his work,
> Hajek eagerly collected manuscripts, especially those
> by Copernicus".
> One of the craters of the Moon is named after him in
> recognition of his astronomical discoveries.
I like it! Other lunar craters are Kircher and Marci.
I think there's also an asteroid called Marci (not too
sure though). And a crater on Venus is called Voynich.
> In 1584, when Dee and Kelley arrived in Prague, Tadeas Hajek
> was already almost 60 - a great age at that time - and
> of European fame.
> It is certainly doubtful he would have produced VMs
> himself - but he may have picked it up as a collector.
> Stronger arguments are needed, however, as just the facts
> that he was a famous astronomer and astrologer, and
> that he translated a herbal is too slim foundation
> to build on.
There is no doubt that Hajek was a bonafide scientist.
However, in his position at Rudolf's court he inevitably
was in contact with the best scientists and the most
shameless charlatans and everything in between. His
personal interests overlap to a large extent with the
subject matter of the VMs.
Taking these two things together, I think it is reasonable
to assume that if the VMs was at Rudolf's court prior to
1600 he *must* have seen it. And he may have mentioned it
in his writings...
If the VMs only appeared in Prague after 1600, then a
lot of theories have to be revised.
Rafal, I assume that you're Polish and can therefore read
Czech. Have you seen the three books by Ivan Svitak about
Dee, Kelly and Westonia?