David Kalonymos of Naples (-1506)

David Kalonymos was an Italian Jewish court physician, astrologer/astronomer in Naples. Jewish astronomers of the time were expected to write horoscopes and make astrological predictions based on astronomical calculations. Astrology was widely considered to be a form of wisdom, akin to the mysticism of Kabbalah and the teachings of the Talmud. In 1564, David wrote two astrological treatises, one of which is on the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. He dedicated the work to King Ferdinand I of Naples in the hope of obtaining religious liberty for Jews in southern Italy. A horoscope for David’s son born on March 28, 1458 has been preserved in a book in the library of Parma.

In 1466 David translated from Latin into Hebrew an astronomical work of John of Gmünd describing an astronomical instrument invented in Vienna in 1417. He also wrote a philosophical treatise on the Destructio Destructiones of Averroes.

Both of David’s sons, Calo and Chaim, followed their father in the practice of astrology and other philosophical activities.

David Kalonymos


Astrolabe with Hebrew
Astrological chart for a son of David Kalonymos, Parma 336 p. 73 https://www.nli.org.il/en/manuscripts/NNL_ALEPH000083499/NLI#$FL17907178
Don Ferrante of Naples depicted as one of the Magi in the Adoration of the Magi by Marco Cardisco, Civic Museum of Castel NuovoNaples

Ferrante d’Aragona, depicted as a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Sculpture depicting the coronation of Ferrante as king of Naples by Latino OrsiniBenedetto da MaianoBargello MuseumFlorence
Gold coin with the crowned effigy of Ferrante I, king of Naples
‘Christ Among the Doctors’ by Albrecht Durer, 1506.
St. Jerome in the Desert
Giovanni Bellini
The court of the Gonzaga (1474) Andrea Mantegna

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