Astronomical tables were used to calculate the planetary positions, phases of the moon, eclipses and calendars. Although eagerly awaited, the tables in Copernicus’ De revolutionibus were not very extensive. Erasmus Reinhold decided to make a whole new set of astronomical tables based on Copernicus’ calculations which were to become the Prutenic tables. These tables helped to establish and verify Copernican theory. They are sometimes called the Prussian Tablesafter Albert I, Duke of Prussia, who supported Reinhold and financed the printing.
This copy was owned by both Liddel and by his Rostock professor Heinrich Brucaeus. It contains extensive manuscript commentaries and annotations by Brucaeus. These annotations are relevant not only to study the employment of astronomical tables in the late sixteenth century but also to investigate the interconnections between astronomy and literature in that age. In fact, the catalogue of the fixed stars is extensively annotated with stories and myths concerning the constellations, and quotations derived from classical authors.
The title page shown here has Brucaeus' notes and the remains of Erasmus Reinhold’s signature. There is an example of an early signature of Liddel at Rostock dated 1587.