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Secret science : Spanish cosmography and the New World /
María M. Portuondo.
imprint
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2009.
description
xii, 335 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.)
ISBN
0226675343 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780226675343 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2009.
isbn
0226675343 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780226675343 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6828027
 
Gift to Victoria University Library. Terpstra, Nicholas. 2009/12/09.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A work of meticulous scholarship, Secret Science is must reading for anyone interested in the history of early modern science, the history of cosmography, and the intellectual challenges posed by the discovery of the New World. Of key importance is Portuondo's understanding of science as an administrative practice that privileged the collection of empirical data as opposed to philosophical speculation into the secrets of nature. The book also questions traditional assumptions concerning Spain's supposed lack of participation in the early modern revolution in science, and in doing so, forces us to rethink what this revolution was about."-Richard L. Kagan, Johns Hopkins University
"A work of meticulous scholarship, Secret Science is must reading for anyone interested in the history of early modern science, the history of cosmography, and the intellectual challenges posed by the discovery of the New World. Of key importance is Portuondo's understanding of science as an administrative practice that privileged the collection of empirical data as opposed to philosophical speculation into the secrets of nature. The book also questions traditional assumptions concerning Spain's supposed lack of participation in the early modern revolution in science, and in doing so, forces us to rethink what this revolution was about."Richard L. Kagan, Johns Hopkins University
"Impeccably researched. . . . Portuondo's study reveals valuable evidence with which scholars can refashion their images of the Renaissance world and the achievements of Spanish science at the dawn of modernity."
"Impeccably researched. . . . Portuondo's study reveals valuable evidence with which scholars can refashion their images of the Renaissance world and the achievements of Spanish science at the dawn of modernity."Neil Safier, Nature
"Impeccably researched. . . . Portuondo's study reveals valuable evidence with which scholars can refashion their images of the Renaissance world and the achievements of Spanish science at the dawn of modernity."Neil Safier,Nature
"This impressive and original book finally brings Spainlong neglected by historians of scienceinto the picture of the Scientific Revolution. Secret Science takes us on a fascinating voyage through the scientific institutions that King Philip II created in order to build a body of confidential scientific information about his vast empire. María Portuondo creates a vivid portrait of the Spanish royal cosmographers at work, as they devised instruments, drew maps, and described in meticulous detail the physical features of the empire. Besides detailing the achievements of the cosmographers, Portuondo demonstrates that Philip II, far from being a hidebound reactionary, as the Black Legend portrays him, was a pragmatic, modernizing prince who used science and technology to build the first empire in world history over which the sun never set, and in the process created a vast inventory of real, tangible knowledge about the New World. This is cultural history of science at its best: learned, original, and compelling. Vivid, engrossing, and full of fascinating details, the book will completely change the way we think about the origins of science. It's a must read for historians of science and cultural historians alike."
"This impressive and original book finally brings Spain-long neglected by historians of science-into the picture of the Scientific Revolution. Secret Science takes us on a fascinating voyage through the scientific institutions that King Philip II created in order to build a body of confidential scientific information about his vast empire. Mar�a Portuondo creates a vivid portrait of the Spanish royal cosmographers at work, as they devised instruments, drew maps, and described in meticulous detail the physical features of the empire. Besides detailing the achievements of the cosmographers, Portuondo demonstrates that Philip II, far from being a hidebound reactionary, as the Black Legend portrays him, was a pragmatic, modernizing prince who used science and technology to build the first empire in world history over which the sun never set, and in the process created a vast inventory of real, tangible knowledge about the New World. This is cultural history of science at its best: learned, original, and compelling. Vivid, engrossing, and full of fascinating details, the book will completely change the way we think about the origins of science. It's a must read for historians of science and cultural historians alike."-William Eamon, New Mexico State University
"This impressive and original book finally brings Spainlong neglected by historians of scienceinto the picture of the Scientific Revolution. Secret Science takes us on a fascinating voyage through the scientific institutions that King Philip II created in order to build a body of confidential scientific information about his vast empire. Maria Portuondo creates a vivid portrait of the Spanish royal cosmographers at work, as they devised instruments, drew maps, and described in meticulous detail the physical features of the empire. Besides detailing the achievements of the cosmographers, Portuondo demonstrates that Philip II, far from being a hidebound reactionary, as the Black Legend portrays him, was a pragmatic, modernizing prince who used science and technology to build the first empire in world history over which the sun never set, and in the process created a vast inventory of real, tangible knowledge about the New World. This is cultural history of science at its best: learned, original, and compelling. Vivid, engrossing, and full of fascinating details, the book will completely change the way we think about the origins of science. It's a must read for historians of science and cultural historians alike."William Eamon, New Mexico State University
"This impressive and original book finally brings Spainlong neglected by historians of scienceinto the picture of the Scientific Revolution. Secret Sciencetakes us on a fascinating voyage through the scientific institutions that King Philip II created in order to build a body of confidential scientific information about his vast empire. Maria Portuondo creates a vivid portrait of the Spanish royal cosmographers at work, as they devised instruments, drew maps, and described in meticulous detail the physical features of the empire. Besides detailing the achievements of the cosmographers, Portuondo demonstrates that Philip II, far from being a hidebound reactionary, as the Black Legend portrays him, was a pragmatic, modernizing prince who used science and technology to build the first empire in world history over which the sun never set, and in the process created a vast inventory of real, tangible knowledge about the New World. This is cultural history of science at its best: learned, original, and compelling. Vivid, engrossing, and full of fascinating details, the book will completely change the way we think about the origins of science. It's a must read for historians of science and cultural historians alike."William Eamon, New Mexico State University
"This is an important book about an extremely important subject. . . . [Portuondo's] elegant prose and meticulous apparatus deftly guide the reader through the wealth of archival, printed and secondary sources that underpin her careful analysis."
"This is an important book about an extremely important subject. . . . [Portuondo's] elgant prose and meticulous apparatus deftly guide the reader through the wealth of archival, printed and secondary sources that underpin her careful analysis." Journal for the History of Astronomy
"This is an important book about an extremely important subject. . . . [Portuondo's] elgant prose and meticulous apparatus deftly guide the reader through the wealth of archival, printed and secondary sources that underpin her careful analysis."Journal for the History of Astronomy
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The discovery of the New World raised many questions for early modern scientists. Imperial expansion necessitated changes in the way scientific knowledge was gathered. This book shows how this cosmographic knowledge had strategic, defensive and monetary values which royal scientists had to safeguard from foreign and internal enemies.
Main Description
The discovery of the New World raised many questions for early modern scientists: What did these lands contain? Where did they lie in relation to Europe? Who lived there, and what were their inhabitants like? Imperial expansion necessitated changes in the way scientific knowledge was gathered, and Spanish cosmographers in particular were charged with turning their observations of the New World into a body of knowledge that could be used for governing the largest empire the world had ever known. As María M. Portuondo here shows, this cosmographic knowledge had considerable strategic, defensive, and monetary value that royal scientists were charged with safeguarding from foreign and internal enemies. Cosmography was thus a secret science, but despite the limited dissemination of this body of knowledge, royal cosmographers applied alternative epistemologies and new methodologies that changed the discipline, and, in the process, how Europeans understood the natural world.
Main Description
The discovery of the New World raised many questions for early modern scientists: What did these lands contain? Where did they lie in relation to Europe? Who lived there, and what were their inhabitants like? Imperial expansion necessitated changes in the way scientific knowledge was gathered, and Spanish cosmographers in particular were charged with turning their observations of the New World into a body of knowledge that could be used for governing the largest empire the world had ever known.As Maria M. Portuondo here shows, this cosmographic knowledge had considerable strategic, defensive, and monetary value that royal scientists were charged with safeguarding from foreign and internal enemies. Cosmography was thus a secret science, but despite the limited dissemination of this body of knowledge, royal cosmographers applied alternative epistemologies and new methodologies that changed the discipline, and, in the process, how Europeans understood the natural world.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tablesp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
List of Abbreviationsp. xiii
A Note on Translationsp. xiv
Introduction Spanish Science and the New Worldp. 1
Renaissance Cosmography in the Era of Discoveryp. 19
Humanists Adopt Ptolemy: European Practitioners Create a New Disciplinep. 20
Ideal Practice: Cosmography at the Universityp. 38
Cosmography and the Sea: Mathematical Rationalism and Navigation Booksp. 48
Cosmographical Styles at the Casa, Consejo and Cortep. 60
"Like Scattered Pieces of a Puzzle": Compiling Knowledge of the New Worldp. 62
The Tordesillas Questionp. 66
Alonso de Santa Cruz and His Cosmographical Opusp. 68
The Islario generalp. 72
Experts to Explain the World: Juan de Herrera and the Expert Explorersp. 79
Cosmography at the Casa: Pilots and Mapsp. 95
Cosmography Codifiedp. 103
Cosmography as State Secretp. 103
Santa Cruz's Guidelinesp. 108
A Law to Define Cosmographical Practicep. 115
Legal Culture and Cosmographical Methodologyp. 136
The Cosmographer-Chronicler of the Council of Indiesp. 141
The Empire, Patronage, and the Humanist: Juan López de Velasco, 1571-90p. 142
The Reluctant Historianp. 159
The Cosmographer as Censorp. 164
The Cosmographer at Workp. 172
The Censor Censored: Juan Bautista Gesiop. 183
The Sumariop. 193
Constructing a Cosmographical Epistemologyp. 210
Questionnaires and the Relaciones geográficas de Indiasp. 211
Eclipses and Longitudep. 223
A Global Projectp. 229
The Lunar Eclipse Observationsp. 240
Cosmography Dissolvesp. 257
A New Patronage Equationp. 258
Mathematical Practitioners Take Overp. 266
Mathematics and Cosmographical Epistemologyp. 282
Chroniclers and Historiansp. 291
Conclusionp. 299
Bibliographyp. 307
Indexp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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