Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 2332-2333


Wilhelm IV

Alternate Name

Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel

BornKassel, (Hessen, Germany), 24 June 1532

DiedKassel, (Hessen, Germany), 20 August 1592

Wilhelm IV built the first observatory in modern Europe with excellent instruments and staff, producing superior stellar catalogs. Wilhelm was the son of the Landgrave Philipp of Hessen (called the Magnaminous), who introduced the Reformation into Hesse and who became the leader of the Protestant princes. Wilhelm first obtained an education from private tutors at the court of Kassel, as well as, during the year 1546/1547, at the Gymnasium in Strasbourg founded by Johann Sturm. Already in childhood, he developed remarkable intellectual capabilities.

His interests in astronomy appeared to awaken early and were influenced by Peter Apian’s brilliant work, Astronomicum Caesareum (1540). Under the influence of this book, Wilhelm’s interests developed in two directions. First, his fascination with the graphic modeling of revolving disks as a representati ...

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