Johann (es) Müller, later called Regiomontanus latin ( = the Königsberg ) (* June 6, 1436 in the Lower Franconian Königsberg in Bayern, † July 6, 1476 in Rome), was an eminent mathematician, astronomer and publisher of the late Middle Ages. His name was Latinized short Hans Müller, Johannes Molitor (is), and most commonly used derived from the origin humanist Joannes de Monte Regio (or written separately: de Monte Regio). The Latinized name Regiomontanus has not yet been used by himself and his contemporaries, but to have been first used in 1531 by Philipp Melanchthon.

Curriculum vitae


After the presentation of Johann Werner Krauss II, who was from 1677 to 1732 Deacon in Königsberg and in turn was able to rely on older tradition of Johann Wolfrum ( 1550-1621 ), was Regiomontanus anno 1436, to June 6 hor. 4 min. 40 a [e ] Novaquatis á Meridie to Königsberg ( in 1436, on June 6 by 4 clock and 40 minutes in the afternoon) born. The accuracy of this date is certainly back on an astrological rectification of the birth chart and not to a documentary tradition. The birthplace of Konigsberg, where today is considered the house on the salt market 6 as birthplace, is also supported by several statements from the 16th century ( Philipp Melanchthon, 1547; Erasmus Reinhold, 1549; Jacob Curio, 1557; secondarily witnessed by Krauss and Paul Melissus, 1577).

The father called Krauss with reference to Wolfrum as Johan. Molitor. Senior in Unfind. He had, as his son's education suggests and Erasmus Reinhold also expressly noted about the parents, some prosperity. This he owed, to judge by the name, presumably the operation of one of the mills, which were awarded in Königsberg as Council fief. He is regarded as identical with Johannes Mollner (ie Müller), which is attested as a member of the Königsberg City Council and jointly charged with another councilor with the supervision of the construction of the church was St. Burkhardt (begun in 1428 ). For the high position of the father in the Königsberg company also says that his daughter Catharina († 1490 ), the sister of Regiomontanus, second husband, the mayor of Königsberg John hemlock married. That Wolfrum in the reproduction of Krauss patronymic provides with the addition of " in Unfind ", sometimes occasion, in the older literature, however, added to the suspicion that Regiomontanus was not born in Königsberg, but in the nearby village Unfinden, where in 1476 a Hans Moller is attested. After analyzing all received documents and notes you go today but usually assume that the father in any case lived at the time of the birth of the Son in Königsberg and later, not moved before the beginning of the 1470s, according to Unfinden.

As Krauss cites the Son as Camillus, Johann Müller or Molitor, dictus Regiomontany, a distinguished mathematician, one has Camillus partly as one of the first names, but sometimes also interpreted to mean so contrasting from the name of the father as Johan. Molitor. Seniors should be marked simply as the young ' Johann Müller in Unfind the son. However, contemporary sources and all prints mention only the first name Johann (es).


Regiomontanus must have acquired very early astronomical knowledge, as he did when he was 12 years old already for 1448, an astronomical yearbook calculated how to make it necessary for the creation of horoscopes. In research, it is believed even that he might be identical to a John Molitoris, who a year earlier ( 1447 ) enrolled at the University of Leipzig. In 1450 he enrolled at the University of Vienna, whose faculty of arts was one of the most important mathematical and astronomical schools at this time. In 1452 he became Baccalaureus, 1457 Master and taught mathematics and philology under the Vienna teaching program of Artes.

Insight into his studies in Vienna granted a technique known as "Wiener arithmetic book ," begun in the 1450s manuscript collection Regiomontanus, containing copies and excerpts of other works as well as your own notes and drafts. These include, among others, in the 13th century, written by a master Gernardus (temporarily Jordanus de Nemore attributed ) Algorismus demo stratus for the acquisition of basic skills in numeric computation and arithmetic, notes and extracts the geometry to or from Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius of Perga, the Banu Musa brothers, to the music, which also was part of the quadrivium to Artes - study, Musica speculativa of Johannes de Muris, as well as writings on the mechanics of Thabit ibn Qurra and Jordanus de Nemore.

Regiomontanus was in Vienna in relationship to the imperial court, where he worked for Frederick III. created a chart over his bride Eleanor of Portugal and later for this even a horoscope on the heir Maximilian I.. Formative was for Regiomontanus in Vienna but especially the influence of humanism, in particular the relationship with Georg von Peuerbach, who had become in 1448 Baccalaureus and 1453 Master's in Vienna, and his lecture of 1454 on planetary theory Regiomontanus later under the title Nova theorica planetarum ( 1472 ) published in the print. Crucial also the encounter with Cardinal Basil Bessarion, who was staying in Vienna in 1461 to promote the imperial court on behalf of the Pope for support in the fight against the Turks was. Bessarion had brought from Constantinople Opel a collection of Greek manuscripts to Italy and had, among others, a Greek manuscript of the Almagest of Ptolemy, which he had begun a Latin translation itself, which he wanted to continue with the help Peuerbach.


As Bessarion Peuerbach and Regiomontanus to Rome invited Peuerbach but in the same year died unexpectedly, to Regiomontanus went in 1461 alone with the Cardinal to Rome, where he continued work on the Almagest and in 1463 brought to a conclusion. Later, under the title Epytoma in Almagestum Ptolomei (Venice 1496 ), as an annotated excerpt from the Almagest printed, it became one of the fundamental works for Astronomy of the Renaissance, which was used among others by Copernicus and Galileo. He stayed in Ferrara, Venice ( 1463 ), where he discovered a manuscript of Diophantus's Arithmetica, and in Padua, where he gave a lecture on Alfraganus 1464 ( printed 1537 ). During his time in Italy he also wrote the treatise De triangulis omnimodis (1462-1464, printed 1533), with whom he founded the modern trigonometry.

1467 he went to Ofen (Buda, today a part of Budapest ) (Hungary ), where assigned him the Archbishop of Gran with the creation of astronomical tables. Here he constructed his own observation instruments and created with the support of Poland Marcin Bylica (1433-1493), Royal Astronomer of the Hungarian King Matthias, sine and tangent tables ( up to seven digits accuracy). Regiomontanus was also an astrologer at this time.

Around 1470 he developed the Jacob's staff on.

Nuremberg and Rome

In 1471 he moved on behalf of King Matthias to Nuremberg, there to improve the tables of planetary movements even further. Due to the thriving instrument building and excellent location, he initially remained as an envoy of the king, but later in its sole discretion. He now opened his own print shop in which he wanted to make his table works best quality, a project that thwarted his early death. In 1472 he published there Peuerbach Theo Ricae novae Planetarum and the didactic poem Astronomica of Manilius. In Nuremberg, he pointed out systematic observations of the heavens with self-made instruments. After he had been invited to the upcoming reform of the calendar by Pope Sixtus IV to cooperate, he went in 1475 to Rome. On the way he was able to publish his Calendariums (see below) in the dispensary of Erhard Ratdolt in Venice conduct in the way ( published in 1476 ).


Just one year later ( 1476 ) he died (probably of a plague ) at the age of just 40 years. After Hartmann Schedel, he was buried in the graveyard ( Ager dei ), whereby the Campo Santo Teutonico should be meant. According to legend, he was, however, buried in the Pantheon. In 1976 at the suggestion of the Konigsberg Mayor Rudolf Mett in the Campo Santo a memorial tablet.

His astronomical observations were continued by his pupil Bernard Walther for many years. Walther had acquired the estate of Regiomontanus, but allowed no one insight. Some of the manuscripts were later published by Johannes Schoner.


Regiomontanus is the preeminent mathematician (among the founders of modern trigonometry ) of his time and earlier reformer of the Julian calendar.

Already in 1514 presented a list of the works of Georg Tannstetter Regiomontanus together, in his history of the Viennese mathematician and astronomer: Viri mathematici. First listed Tannstetter more than 20 works by other authors, which Regiomontanus edited, then more than 20 books Regiomontanus itself

1468 published his tables for the solar declination ( Tabula primi mobilis ). His calendarium for the period 1475-1531 with newly calculated position information of Sun and Moon, including precise timing tables, and the Ephemerides astronomicae from anno 1475 to 1506 were indispensable tools for the sailors of his time - because of the reliability of its calculations and print quality. His ephemeris (star signs) have greatly facilitated by the improved navigation options the voyages of sailors such as Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama.

Since 1451, he watched with Georg von Peuerbach comets, conjunctions of planets (including the Moon) and eclipses to verify the accuracy of the astronomical board works. January and February 1472, he observed the comet C/1471 ( Regiomontanus ). His posthumously published in 1532 by Johannes Schöner treatise Problemata XVI de cometae ( 1472 ) magnitudine longitudineque ac de vero ejus loco is according to Edmund Halley, the first scientific description of a comet ( at least in Europe ). It should be noted that it is claimed in many websites that Regiomontanus 1456 observed Halley's comet. Receive a report from Peuerbach, in which a staff Regiomontanus is not mentioned. Peuerbach also tried to estimate the distance. Halley's Comet C/1471 and ( Regiomontanus ) were also observed by Toscanelli, whose description Halley was not known but about.

Regiomontanus was a typical representative of Renaissance humanism: Personal observation and comparison with the results of ancient science ( Aristotle ) should renew astronomy, in his view, helping to find "the truth". With this attitude he was next to Nicholas of Cusa, the essential precursor of the Copernican worldview.

The accuracy of his astronomical observations was only surpassed by Tycho Brahe. His contributions to geometry and trigonometry were groundbreaking.

The Gregorian calendar reform with the unique discontinuance of ten calendar days and the introduction of a leap year rule was until over 100 years after his death. Regiomontanus ' estate of scientific instruments is now housed in the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg on loan from the local public library.

The lunar crater Regiomontanus bears his name as well as the asteroid ( 9307 ) Regiomontanus. The Nuremberg Public Observatory is also named after him as the Regiomontanus -Gymnasium Haßfurt and Fachober-/Berufsoberschule in Coburg ( Regiomontanus - school). The astronomical journal Regiomontanusbote bears his name.


  • Felix Schmeidler ( Eds.): Joannis Regiomontani Opera collectanea. O. Zeller, Osnabrück 1972 ( nearly 800 pages), ISBN 3-535-00816-6
  • Scripta Clarissimi Mathematici M. Ioannis Regiomontani, De Torqueto, Astrolabio armillari, regulators magna Ptolemaica, Baculoq [ ue ], 1544, e-book of the Vienna University Library (eBooks on Demand)