Munich, 19-21 November 2018: PAL & ALFA Workshop “Pre-modern Astronomical and Astrological Data in Tabular Form: Storage, Edition and Mathematical Analysis”

in cooperation with the projects TAMAS, DATA and HAMSI, centred around the development of the DISHAS database

Munich, 19-21 November 2018


  • Matthieu Husson (ALFA, Observatoire de Paris)
  • Benno van Dalen (Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus, Munich)

Dates & Location

  • Actual Workshop: Monday 19 and Tuesday morning 20 November 2018
  • Practical sessions for students and researchers: Tuesday afternoon 20 and Wednesday morning 21 November 2018
  • Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Munich), kleiner Sitzungssaal

Confirmed Speakers

  • José Chabas (Barcelona University)
  • Matthieu Husson (ALFA, Paris Observatory)
  • Richard Kremer (Darmouth College, USA)
  • AJ Misra (Max Planck Institute, Berlin)
  • Mohammad Mozaffari (Maragha, Iran)
  • Antonin Penon (ALFA, Paris Observatory)
  • Johannes Thomann (university of Zurich)
  • Galla Topalian (ALFA, Paris Observatory)
  • Benno van Dalen (Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Munich)
  • Glen van Brummelen (Quest University, Canada)


This workshop will bring together scholars from all over the world who work on tables in the pre-modern astral sciences. They may discuss any aspects of their work with such tables, e.g.critical edition, storage and mathematical analysis. Overviews of types of tables found in hitherto lesser known categories of sources are just as welcome as proposals for entirely new types of analysis. Contributions on horoscopes and astrological tables are especially welcome, since they have generally not yet received the treatment they deserve. Although tables from the Ptolemaic traditions (Greek, Islamic, late-Indian and European) will be at the centre, we will also invite a speaker on Chinese astronomical tables in order to provide the database discussions with more background.

Special attention will be paid to the newly developed “Digital Information System for the History of the Astral Sciences” (DISHAS, cooperative undertaking of the projects TAMAS, ALFA, HAMSI and PAL), whose first part under implementation is a database of tables, the parameters on which they are based, and the sources in which they occur. Discussions of possible tools that access data from DISHAS for more efficiently carrying out tasks related to the edition and analysis of tables are particularly welcome. One or two IT specialists will be invited to speak about technical issues and possibilities related to the programming of further tools to be used with DISHAS.

We plan to add two practical sessions in which students and researchers can learn how to work with DISHAS (or, for certain functions that have not yet been implemented, with some of the DOS and Windows precursors programmed by Benno van Dalen and the editing tool CATE developed by HAMSI). The students and researchers will thus be introduced to the study and analysis of tables in a pragmatic way that complements the more theoretical approaches to be introduced in the first three sessions of the workshop. The practical sessions will give an opportunity for students and researchers to experiment with these tools using their own sources. The feedback gained from these sessions will be especially important for shaping the future development of DISHAS. The practical sessions will be organised by Matthieu Husson and the DISHAS development team.

ALFA and PAL provide at least 4 grants. To participate to the practical sessions see the informations for applicants here.