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Early Modern Exchanges in Sanskrit Astral Sciences

Early Modern Exchanges in Sanskrit Astral Sciences


During the period of Mughal rule (1500 to 1800 CE) in early modern India, traditional Sanskrit astronomers actively engaged with Islamic (Ptolemaic) astronomy for the very first time. The EMESAS project proposes to study the canonical works (siddhāntas) of three Sanskrit astronomers from the early 17th century: Nityānanda, Munīśvara, and Kamalākara. The aim of this study is to find and analyse 'knowledge elements' found in their texts that are of Islamic origin, e.g., computational
methods, geometrical arguments, astronomical models, diagrammatic proofs, etc. In doing so, the EMESAS project will contextualize the process of transmission, reception, assimilation, and adaptation of Islamic ideas in medieval Sanskrit astronomy.

The Centre for the Study of Indian Science (CSIS), hosted by the Department of Cross-Cultural and Religious Studies at University of Copenhagen (UCPH), specializes in research on different aspects of Indian astral sciences like saṃhitā (omens), horā (astrology), and gaṇita (mathematical astronomy). This makes CSIS ideally suited to host the EMESAS project.

Under the supervision of Prof. Kenneth Zysk, the head of CSIS, the EMESAS project will examine Nityānanda's 'Sarvasiddhāntarāja' (1639 CE), Munīśvara’s 'Siddhāntasārvabhauma' (1646 CE), and Kamalākara’s
'Siddhāntatattvaviveka' (1658 CE). The research expertise at CSIS will enable this project to ask challenging questions: What motivated Sanskrit authors to discuss Islamic astronomical theories? What kind of technical explanations, mathematical vocabularies, and cultural tropes did Sanskrit authors adopt in accepting (or rejecting) foreign ideas? How did the scientific milieu of early 17th century Mughal India influence the development of Sanskrit astronomy? To answer these questions, the EMESAS project will develop a unique interdisciplinary approach that brings together philological, historical, and mathematical methods of analysis.
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Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn


Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 207 312

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 836055


Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 November 2019

  • End date

    31 October 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 207 312

  • EU contribution

    € 207 312

Coordinated by: