Cartes du Ciel réduites en quatre tables, contenant toutes les constellations avec un catalogue des noms, grandeurs & positions des estoilles, corrigées et calculées par longitudes & latitudes pour l’an 1700. En latin, le français à costé.
- Author: ROYER, Augustin
- Publication place: Paris
- Publisher: Jean Baptiste Coignard
- Publication date: 1679.
- Physical description: Duodecimo (140 by 75mm) (36), 223, (1) pp., four engraved folding charts
- Inventory reference: 15217
A fine example of Royer’s exceptionally rare celestial catalogue of 800 stars. This work contains four celestial maps: two polar (extending approximately 23.5 degrees south or south respectively), and two centred on the summer and winter solstices, covering half of the zodiac from equinox to equinox along the ecliptic in an area ranging from 35 degrees north to 35 degrees south. Royer’s charts depict four constellations for the first time. Lilium (the Lily,in honour of Louis XIV, and representing the emblem of France); Sceptrum et Manus Justitiae (the Sceptre and the Hand of Justice); Columba (the Dove), and Crux Australis (the Southern Cross). Royer was the first to show the Southern Cross “as a distinct constellation in a flat star map” (Brown).
Petrus Plancius produced the first depiction of the Southern Cross in 1589, and Johann Bayer’s 1603 star atlas included the asterism, but both authors showed it as part of Centaurus rather than a separate constellation.
Most of Royer’s work is occupied by a “Table universelle des longitudes et latitudes des estoilles corrigée et eugmentée par D. Anthelme, Chartreux à Dijon”. Anthelme Voituret was a monk who discovered the CK Vulpeculae, also called the Nova Vulpeculae, in 1670, probably the oldest catalogued nova variable. This nova was not detectable again for centuries until rediscovered in 1981.
“Copies of Royer’s maps are very rare, and they influenced the maps and globes of Coronelli” (Kanas). Examples of Royer’s work are “extremely rare, especially in England. There appears to be no copy of this publication in Oxford, neither do the libraries of the Royal Society or the Royal Astronomical Society possess one. There is a copy in the British Museum. No copies are offered for sale in the catalogues of antiquarian booksellers” (Brown).
The present example has four folding plates. The example formerly in the Macclesfield Library had only three.
We have been able to trace a total of seven institutional examples of the Royer: British Library; NYPL; Linda Hall; BnF, France; Observatoire de Paris, France; Lausanne, Switzerland; Augsburg, Germany.