Andreas Cellarius

(c1595–1665)

In 1960 a main belt asteroid was discovered, but it wasn’t until 2008 that it was named 12618 Cellarius”, after the creator of the only celestial atlas published during the Golden Age of Dutch cartography, and probably the finest celestial atlas ever realized. On the title-page of that book, Cellarius identifies himself as the headmaster of the Latin School at Hoorn, near Amsterdam; and states that he was born in the Pfaltz area of German Rhineland.

Recent research, by Robert H. Van Gent, has revealed that Cellarius was the son of Andreas Cellarius, a pastor in Neuhausen from 1596 to 1599, who later moved to Heidelberg. The young Andreas was educated at the Sapierzkolleg in Heidelberg, and enrolled as a student at the University of Heidelberg in 1614. From 1625, the same year in which he married Catharina Eltmans, he was a schoolmaster in Amsterdam and then in the Hague. In 1637, he became headmaster of the Latin School in Hoorn. Once there, he settled down to writing. 

His earliest known work, in 1645, was on military architecture. Written in German, it was published in Amsterdam by Jodocus Janssonius, who would later include Cellarius’s Harmonia Macrocosmica’, as the last volume of his Atlas Maior’, in 1660. However, before then, in 1659 Cellarius’s description of Poland was published, suggesting that he may have travelled extensively through that country.

The Cellariuses had three sons, Andreas (1626), Johannes (1631), and Joris (1635); and a daughter, Catharina (1628). Cellarius died in February or March of 1665, in the same year as his eldest son.