The citadel of Urania


Uraniborg from Astronomiæ instauratæ mechanica, 1598

Uraniae sacrata domus, specula inclyta caeli
Excelso fundata loco, firmataque vallis,
Arborisque herbisque tuis circumsita in hortis,
Quae ter septenos lustrasti cunta per annos
Sidera, dum caput augustum sustollis olympo.
Siccine spreta jaces? Sic nunc orbata quiescis?
Forsitan id superis visum, quibus enthea curae:
Ne magna exiguis stringantur munera claustris.
Sic volvunt; variantque vices terrestria quaeque;
Sit tibi laus soli, qui caelum, et sidera torques.

Dwelling consecrated to Urania, glorious observatory of heaven
Founded in a sublime place, fortified by walls,
And by gardens of trees and herbs surrounded,
which for three times seven years observed all the stars,
So raise the august head to Olympus.
So much despised do you laid? So deprived do you rest?
Perhaps the supernals, by whom everything is taken into care, judged
that so great gifts would not remain confined in so narrow boundaries.
So all earthly destinies  turn and change;
Be praise to you only, who move around the sky and the stars.
from Astronomiæ instauratæ mechanica, 1598

The foundation of Uraniborg


Tycho Brahe wrote in his Astronomiæ instauratæ mechanica:

Cum vero dies is, fundationi destinatus, instaret, accessit optimus ille Danææus, comitatus aliquos nobilibus viris, tum quoque, quibusdam doctis ex amicis communibus, qui huic actui interessent: et die octavo Augusti mane ex oriente Sole una cum Iuppiter iuxta Cor Leoni, Luna occiduum cardinem in Aquario occupante, in omnium nostrum praesentia lapidem eundem locavit, litando prius solemniter vinis diversis, e fausta quaque precando, suffragantibus iis, qui circum stabant amicis. Constitutus autem est hic lapis in angulo domus orientali versus Notapelioten, velut in apposita figuratione iuxta literam F. exprimitur.

When that very day, which was destined for the foundation,  was imminent, the excellent Dançay arrived, accompanied by some noblemen, and also by some learned, our common friends, to participate in the event; and on the eighth of August in the morning while Jupiter was rising together with the Sun, near the Heart of the Lion and the Moon holding the western angle in Aquarius, in the presence of us all this same stone posed, first solemnly libeling different wines and invoking every auspicious thing, with the favor of those friends who were surrounding. This plaque was placed in the eastern corner of the house towards Notapeliote (i.e. south-east), as shown in the specific figure to the letter F.

According to the Tycho’s statement the election chart of the foundation of Uraniborg should be like the following one:


Foundation of Uraniborg  – Regiomontanus

Tycho evidently chose this moment primarily for the presence of the Sun and Jupiter together with the star Regulus at the Ascendant.


As we see Jupiter is bodily conjuncted with the star Regulus exactly on the rising angle together with the Sun.  We know that the star Regulus, the Heart of Leo, is a truly regal star that is considered capable of conferring honors and fame and  Jupiter is the great benefic in his triplicity in Leo though is not in corde Solis, or cazimi,  but instead combust.

From Centiloquium Ptolomei Aphorism 22 says:

In the new construction of any city, make use of the adjuvant fixed stars; in building houses take the planets: those cities that in the time of their foundation have Mars culminating, their princes usually die by the sword.

The fixed stars are considered to add durability to cities and buildings as stated by Bonatti in De Astronomia Tractatus

Unde si volueris eligere alicui horam ut aedificet civitatem vel castrum, apta ascendens et dominum eius: Lunam quoque ac dominum signi in quo ipsa fuerit: et partem fortunae similiter et eius dominum: et pone in ascendentem aedificationis urbi vel castri aliquam ex illis stellis fixis, quae sunt de natura Iovis vel Solis vel Veneris aut Mercurii sive Saturni, si Saturnus fuerit boni esse vel Lunae vel saltem de natura domini ascendentis illius horae.

So if you want to elect an hour to build a city or a castle, make agree the ascendant and his lord, and also the Moon with the lord of the sign in which she was placed, and in a similar way the Lot of Fortune and her lord; and place in the ascendant of the building of the city or castle one of the fixed stars, which are of the nature of Jupiter or the Sun or Venus or Mercury or Saturn, if Saturn were in good condition, or of the Moon, or at least of the nature of the ascendant of that hour.

Also the presence on the ascendant in Leo, a solid sign, is a general indication of durability. Moreover the Sun is the lord of the Ascendant and he is very dignified by essential dignity, being in his domicile in Leo, and by accidental dignity, being rising at the horoscope.

The Moon, which Tycho says that was at the occident in Aquarius, was actually cadent from the western angle in the VI house. The Moon was applying  by opposition to Venus, the Lord of the MC, which is cadent in the twelve place. Moreover, since the Sun was rising, the Moon was in conjunction with Tyche, the Lot of Fortune.

Mercury is the Lord of the second house in Virgo and he is placed on the cusp of the second house in his domicile and exaltation but he is retrograde. So Mercury suggests that the wealth of Uraniborg should have been excellent and secured but non increasing because of his retrogradation.

Mars, the lord of the IV house, in exaltation in Capricorn should have guaranteed a solid foundation to the city and sacred sanctuary to his studies since Mars is also the Lord of the IX house.

Let’s note that the Moon and Tyche are exactly in conjunction with Jupiter of Tycho’s geniture at 9° of Aquarius. This is also an important element since, as stated by the sixth Pseudo-Ptolemaic Centiloquium Aphorism:

The election either of day or hour shall then advantage when it is constituted from the nativity; otherwise, though the election be well made, it will not profit.

Uraniborg- Placidus.png

Foundation of Uraniborg  – Placidus – Tyche in mundo

The decay of Uraniborg

But despite Tycho’s care in determining the most favorable moment for the foundation of Uraniborg and in celebrating its foundation with auspicious rites the citadel of Urania was defeated by negligence and oblivion in a very short time. After less than 50 years from its foundation Uraniborg was in ruins.

In Tycho Brahe: a picture of scientific life and work in the sixteenth century (1890) by John Louis Emil Dreyer we find:

Soon after Tycho’s death, in May 1602, Cort Barleben received Hveen in fief, and shortly afterwards he was granted permission to pull down the forge. His successor was a mistress of the king’s, Karen Andersdatter, who got the island in 1616, and was followed by her son, Hans Ulrik Gyldenlöve, who died in 1645, and seems to have been succeeded by some nobleman’s widow. The destruction of Uraniborg had in the meantime gradually proceeded, as there was nobody to look after it. A new dwelling-house was erected on the site of Tycho’s farm, called Kongsgaarden, which stood for about two hundred years, but has now disappeared, so that only some farm buildings remain. This Kongsgaard was built of the bricks and stones of Uraniborg, as a mason in 1623 was paid for 60,OOO bricks which he had “pulled down and renovated from the old castle Oranienborg.” In 1645 Jörgen Brahe, a nephew of Tycho’s, was granted permission to remove “any stones with inscriptions or other carved figures or characters ” which might be found at Hveen. Perhaps Tycho’s nephew was anxious to secure some slight relic of his uncle before it was too late, for a couple of years later, when Gassendi inquired about the island, he was informed that there was only a field where Uraniborg had been

What went wrong? Which element in the foundation chart could be an ominous sign? If we look at the chart we see instantly that the Moon cadent and applying to Venus in XII by opposition is not very good at all. Venus is the Lord of the MC and also an accidental significator of the King of Danmark under whose auspices Uraniborg saw the light. Venus very weak by accidental condition and the Moon also cadent which is going to oppose Venus show that Uraniborg would have lost the king’s favor: when Christian VI succeeded to the throne of Denmark, Tycho lost the king’s favor and funds for the observatory island and he moved to Bohemia to work under the patronage of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor. Mercury, which is the Lord of the second house, the wealth of Uraniborg and the wealth of the King, since  Mercury is also the Lord of the XI house, is on the cups of the second house but retrograde going toward the Sun, showing the royal support and money would have been withdrawn.


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