Cunitia, Maria

, a lady of great genius and learning, was born in Silesia about the beginning of the seventeenth century, and became celebrated for her extensive knowledge in many branches of learning, particularly in mathematics and astronomy, upon which she wrote several ingenious treatises; one of which, under the title of “Urania Propitia,” printed in 1650, in Latin and German, she dedicated to Ferdinand III. emperor of Germany. In this work are contained astronomical tables, of great ease and accuracy, founded upon Kepler’s hypothesis. She learned languages with amazing facility; and understood Polish, German, French, Italian, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. With equal ease she acquired a knowledge of the sciences: history, physic, poetry, painting, music both vocal and instrumental, were familiar to her; and yet these were no more than her amusement. Her favourite study was the mathematics, and especially astronomy, to which she principally applied, and was not without reason ranked among the most able astronomers of her time. She married Elias de Levvin, M. D. also an astronomer; and they carried on their favourite studies for some time with equal reputation and success, until the war penetrated into Silesia, and obliged them to quit their residence at Schweinitz, for Poland, which was then at peace. Upon their journey, although furnished with the best passports, they were robbed by the soldiers; but, on their arrival in Poland, were welcomed with every kind attention. Here she composed her astronomical tables above noticed, first printed at Oels, and four years after at Franeker or Francfort. Moreri fixes her death at 1664, but others think she was living in 1669, and then a widow. 2


Bibl. Germanique, vol. III.—Moreri.—Martin’s Lives of the Philosophers.