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Mike A. Zuber

Across an entire century, three Copernicans dedicated their works to successive dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. In 1591 and thus a short decade before his unsavoury execution, the notorious Nolan philosopher, Giordano Bruno (1548–1600), had dedicated his De immenso et innumerabilis to

Christoph Rothmann's Discourse on the Comet of 1585

An Edition and Translation with Accompanying Essays


Miguel A. Granada, Adam Mosley and Nicholas Jardine

Christoph Rothmann wrote a treatise on the comet of 1585 shortly after it disappeared. Though it was not printed until 1619, Rothman sent a copy of his treatise in 1586 to Tycho Brahe, decisively influencing the latter's rejection of solid celestial spheres two years later. In his treatise, Rothmann joined the elimination of the solid celestial spheres to his concept of air as the substance filling the cosmos. He based his argument on the absence of refraction and the celestial location of the comet. The treatise also contained clear statements reflecting Rothmann’s adoption of Copernicanism. This first critical edition of the treatise is accompanied by an English translation and a thorough commentary. Some appendices with archival documents illustrate the genesis of Rothmann’s treatise.

Robert Alan Hatch

the learned? Why did the Copernican view prevail? And most telling, how were the two questions linked? In this brief essay, I examine a dramatic controversy to argue that the shared territory between the Astrology Question and the Copernican Question determined the legitimate victor. No historical

Guicciardini, Niccolò

 Jean-Sylvain Bailly, and of science, such as Etienne de Montucla, who saw the emergence and triumph of the Copernican system as a fundamental watershed and a breakthrough of enlightened scientific reason [3. c...

Calvin, Daneau, and Physica Mosaica

Neglected Continuities at the Origins of an Early Modern Tradition

David S. Sytsma

attitudes to Aristotle, 15 ends up in a similar place to Bizer. For Sinnema, Daneau’s Christian physics was “largely a biblicist effort” but actually he only “made certain corrections on particular points” to the prevailing Aristotelian and pre-Copernican worldview. In fact Daneau “reconfirmed it with

This series, publication under the auspices of the Centre for Copernican Studies of the Polish Academy of Science presents a forum for publications on Copernicus' work, the related problems of his time, and the impact of his ideas as well as for studies in the scientific and broader intellectual traditions of the central European countries.

Rienk Vermij

Robert Westman has been a leading scholar of early modern astronomy for many decades. In particular, his work has decisively influenced the ideas on the early reception of Copernicus’ work. Several of his articles have become standard references. The Copernican Question , his long-awaited book on

On the Distances between Sun, Moon, and Earth

According to Ptolemy, Copernicus and Reinhold



The Prutenic Tables of Erasmus Reinhold, published in 1551, were the first set of astronomical tables to use the Copernican model of the solar system. Reinhold left a detailed account of his derivation of the parameters used in these tables in his "Commentarius in opus Revolutionum Copernici". The present work is based on an analysis of this unpublished manuscript, which was rediscovered early in this century.
In particular, this work analyses the geocentric distances of the sun and moon as found in Ptolemy's Almagest, in both the manuscript version and the Nuremberg edition of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus, in Reinhold's commentary on the Almagest, and in Reinhold's commentary on this section of De Revolutionibus. Chapter one contains a detailed analysis of the lunar distance, and chapter two concerns the apparent diameters of the sun, moon and shadow. The Ptolemaic method, which is the model for Copernicus and Reinhold, requires the determination of these quantities as a preliminary to the calculation of the solar distance, which is treated in chapter three. The fourth chapter is a brief analysis of the relative magnitudes of the sun, moon and earth, which Ptolemy, Copernicus and Reinhold discuss after they have reached values of the lunar and solar distances. The final chapter concerns an application of the distances - the solar and lunar parallaxes and diameters.

imagining the unimaginable

The Poetics of Early Modern Astronomy


Ladina Bezzola Lambert

How is it possible to imagine what is unknown and therefore unimaginable? How can the unimaginable be represented? On what materials do such representations rely? These questions lie at the heart of this book.
Copernican theory redefined the role and importance of the imagination even as it implied the moment of its crisis. Based on this claim, Ladina Bezzola Lambert analyzes seventeenth-century astronomical texts – particularly descriptions of the moon and treatises written in support of the theory of the plurality of worlds – to show how early modern astronomers questioned the role of the imagination as a tool to visualize the unknown, but also how, pressed by the need to support their theories with convincing descriptions of other potential worlds, they sought to overcome the limitations of the imagination with a sophisticated rhetoric and techniques more commonly associated with poetic writing. The limitations of the imagination are at once a problem that all of the texts discussed struggle with and their recurrent theme.
In the first and last chapter, the focus shifts to a more explicitly literary context: Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and the work of Italo Calvino. The change of focus from science to literature and from the narratives of the past to contemporary ones serves to emphasize that the issues relating to the imagination, its limitations and creative means, are basically the same both in science and literature and that they are still relevant today.


GIORDANO BRUNO AND NICOLAUS COPERNICUS T H E M O T I O N S OF THE EARTH IN T H E A S H WEDNESDAY SUPPER PIETRO DANIEL OMODEO ABSTRACT Explaining the Copernican doctrine in a concise passage of The Ash Wednesday Supper (La cena de le Ceneri, London, 1584), Giordano Bruno ascribed four motions to