BAILLY, Jean-Sylvain

BAILLY, Jean-Sylvain. Paris 15.9.1736 — Paris 10.11.1793. French Mathematician, Astronomist and Historian of Astronomy. Son of Jacques B., an artist. Attracted early attention with his scientific skill. From 1763 member of French Academy. Also a politician, participated in early revolution, but was then executed. In 1789-91 Mayor of Paris. Explained his theory about the (much too) high age of Indian astronomy already in his history of pre-Alexandrian astronomy in 1775, using the material collected by —> Le Gentil. Later he wrote a long monograph on the subject in 1787.

Publications: Political speeches, eulogies, astronomical works.

Histoire de l’astronomie ancienne. 527 p. P. 1775; Lettres sur l’origine des sciences, et sur celle des peuples de l’Asie. 348 p. L. 1777; Lettres sur l’Atlantide de Platon et sur l’ancienne histoire de l’Asie. 443 p. L. & P. 1779, English transl. 1-2. L. 1814.

Traité de l’astronomie indienne et orientale. 180+427 p. P. 1787.

Mémoires d’un témoin de la révolution. 1-3. P. XII [1804], 2nd ed. Mémoires de Bailly. 1-3. P. 1821-22.

Sources: Life in N.B.G., D.B.F.; *Dhruv Raina, “Betwixt Jesuit and Enlightenment Historiography: Jean-Sylvain Bailly’s History of Indian Astronomy.” Revue d’Histoire des Mathématiques 9, 2003, 253-306; *E.B. Smith, “J.-S.B.: Astronomer, mystic, revolutionary, 1736-1793”, TAPA N.S. 44, 1954; Wikipedia (with pictures and further references); works in N.U.C.

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