From: Thomas Hockey et al. (eds.). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, Springer Reference. New York: Springer, 2007, pp. 788-789 |
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Mīram
Čelebī: Maḥmūd ibn
Quṭb al‐Dīn
Muḥammad ibn
Muḥammad ibn
Mūsā Qāḍīzāde
İhsan Fazlıoğlu
Born Istanbul, (Turkey),
1475
Died Edirne, (Turkey),
1525
Mīram
Čelebī, one of the most important Ottoman mathematicians and astronomers,
attempted to reconcile the mathematical (Ptolemaic) and natural philosophical
(Aristotelian) traditions concerning astronomy, while writing astronomical
texts that were widely used in the Ottoman Empire.
Mīram Čelebī's grandfather Muḥammad was Qāḍīzāde's son; he married ʿAlī Qūshjī's eldest daughter in Samarqand.
His father, the scholar Quṭb al‐Dīn Muḥammad, came with his grandfather ʿAlī Qūshjī
to Istanbul, where Quṭb al‐Dīn married Mīram Čelebī's
mother, who was the daughter of Khōja‐zāde, a famous scholar
and philosopher of that time. His father, who had been a teacher at the Manāstır
madrasa (school) in Bursa, died at a young age, and so Mīram Čelebī
was raised by his grandfather Khōja‐zāde. Mīram was educated
not only by his grandfather but also by other leading scholars of the time
such as Sinān Pasha. Upon his graduation, he taught at several madrasas
(the Gelibolu, the Edirne ʿAlī
Bey, and the Bursa Manāstır), becoming the most prominent figure
of his time in the mathematical sciences. Indeed Sultan Bāyazīd
II (died: 1512) asked him to be his teacher. Mīram Čelebī was
appointed as Qāḍī ʿaskar (a high official in the Ottoman judiciary) of Anatolia during
the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selīm I (reigned: 1512–1520); however, shortly
thereafter he was dismissed from his post and retired. Towards the end of
his life, he went on the pilgrimage to Mecca; upon his return he settled in
Edirne. He was buried in the courtyard of the Qāsīm Pasha Mosque.
Mīram Čelebī, most famous for his many works in astronomy,
optics, and astrology, was also well known in the fields of history and literature.
(He even wrote an important work on hunting.) He wrote in Arabic and Persian
(the scientific languages of his time) as well as in Turkish. Among his many
students were Muṣṭafā ibn ʿAlī al‐Muwaqqit and the famous philosopher
and historian Ṭashköprülüzāde.
Mīram Čelebī inherited the scientific tradition of the
Samarqand School of mathematics and astronomy represented by his great‐grandfathers
Qāḍīzāde
and ʿAlī Qūshjī.
He was also greatly influenced by Ibn
al‐Haytham's methodology in the field of optics (ʿilm al‐manāẓir) and tended to favor
his approach of combining mathematics and natural philosophy over the more
mathematical approach of both great‐grandparents. In addition, Mīram
Čelebī was well informed of the opinions of Kamāl al‐Dīn
al‐Fārisī, Ibn Sīnā,
and Fakhr al‐Dīn al‐Rāzī, among others.
One of Mīram Čelebī's most important astronomical works
is his commentary on the Persian Zīj‐i Ulugh Beg, also known
as Dustūr al‐ʿamal fī taṣḥīḥ
al‐jadwal,
which was completed in 1499 and dedicated to Sultan Bāyazīd II.
Mīram Čelebī incorporated findings from Jamshīd
al‐Kāshī's Zīj‐i Khāqānī
and ʿAlī Qūshjī's
Sharḥ
Zīj‐i Ulugh Beg.
The work, written in a didactic style, provided five examples of solutions
for calculating the sine of 1°. More than 30 extant copies of the Dustūr
attest to its widespread use by Ottoman astronomers. Mīram Čelebī's
mathematical bent is also indicated by a work in which he calculated the ratio
of the highest mountain in the world to the diameter of the Earth, a problem
going back to Naṣīr al‐Dīn al‐Ṭūsī.
The most noteworthy work written by Mīram Čelebī on
the subject of theoretical astronomy is a commentary on ʿAlī Qūshjī's
work al‐Fatḥiyya
fī ʿilm al‐hayʾa. Unlike his great‐grandfather,
who sought to eliminate Aristotelian natural philosophy from astronomy, Mīram
Čelebī sought to reconcile the mathematical and the natural philosophical
in astronomy as he had done in optics. He completed it in 1519 following the
request of many of Mīram Čelebī's students when he was teaching
al‐Fatḥiyya. The commentary was both
practical and theoretical and was used as a supplementary textbook in the
Ottoman madrasas. Mīram Čelebī stated his intention
to write an appendix to his commentary in which he would analyze the problems
pertaining to the models of Mercury and the Moon. Although there is no extant
copy of this appendix, it is an indication of the importance of the subject
as well as an example of a continuous astronomical tradition to solve difficulties
related to Ptolemy's
planetary models.
Many of Mīram Čelebī's other astronomical works deal
with instruments, including a variety of quadrants. His Risāla dar
Shakkāzī wa Zarqāla az ālāt‐i raṣadiyya (in Persian) examines
two astronomical instruments invented by Zarqālī
and their use in astronomical observations. He also wrote on the calendar,
the determination of the direction to Mecca (qibla), and various other
astronomical problems. His Risāla fī samt al‐qibla
is a comprehensive study on the determination of the qibla using astronomical
and mathematical calculations. Moreover, in accordance with the tendencies
of his time, he wrote original works in the field of astrology, such as al‐Maqāsid
fī al‐ikhtiyārāt and Masāʾil‐i
Mīram Čelebī (in Turkish).
Throughout his work, Mīram Čelebī placed great importance
on rational and empirical evidence for the subjects he investigated. His work
in theoretical astronomy was an extension of the Samarqand tradition that
his great‐grandfather ʿAlī
Qūshjī continued with his colleagues and students in Istanbul. Mīram
Čelebī especially enriched its mathematical character. His relationships
with other members of the Samarqand School who came to Istanbul (such as Sayyid
Munajjim and ʿAbd al‐ʿAlī al‐Birjandī) await further research.
More information is also needed on his contribution to studies on observations
conducted in Istanbul at the time of Sultan Bāyazīd II.
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