Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Cunitz, Maria

Reference work entry

Alternate Names

 Cunitia, Maria;  Cunitiae, Maria

BornSilesia, (Poland), circa1604–1610

DiedPitschen (Byczyna, Poland), 22 or 24 August 1664

Maria Cunitz was one of the first modern femmes de science. The eldest daughter of Maria Schultz and Dr. Heinrich Cunitz, a learned physician, she was denied any form of university education. Her first instruction was from her father, but in 1630 she married Dr. Elias von Löwen (Elie de Loewen, who died in 1661, at Pitschen in Brieg, Silesia), who shared her interests in astronomy. Known as the “Silesian Pallas,” Cunitz did not confine her interests to Urania. By one tradition she mastered seven languages (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German, Polish, Italian, and French) and was widely known for her skills in painting, music, and poetry, not to mention the “masculine” pursuits of mathematics and medicine. Private correspondence shows her interest in horoscopes and genealogy. The most noted woman astronomer since  Hypatia, Cunitz’s principal interest was...

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Selected References

  1. Guentherodt, Ingrid (1991). “Maria Cunitia: Urania Propitia, Intendiertes, erwartetes und tatsächliches Lesepublikum einer Astronomin des 17. Jahrhunderts.” Daphnis: Zeitschrift für mittlere deutsche Literatur 20, no. 2: 311–353.Google Scholar
  2. Hatch, Robert Alan. (1982). The Collection Boulliau FF. 13019–13059): An Inventory. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.Google Scholar
  3. Hatch, Robert Alan. (Forthcoming). The Correspondence of Maria Cunitz & Elias von Löwen (1648–1656), Latin & English Texts.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA