A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos - Dava Sobel (2011)

Notes on the Quotations

The late Edward Rosen, professor of history of science at the City University of New York, translated all of Copernicus’s works into English. Charles Glenn Wallis and A. M. Duncan also made translations of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, often called by its Latin title, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, or De rev for short. In some of the quoted passages, I have combined their translations.

Astronomer and historian Noel Swerdlow, now a visiting associate at Caltech, translated several Copernican documents, including the Brief Sketch, or Commentariolus, and printer Johann Petreius’s open dedication letter to Rheticus.

CHAPTER 1

p. 3 “The cricket … the wayfarers.” Rosen, Minor Works, 30.

p. 4 “marvelous symmetry of the universe.” De rev, I, 10 (Rosen, 22).

p. 7 “What could be more beautiful … divine ruling.” De rev, I, Introduction (Rosen, 7; Wallis, 8).

p. 7 “Among the many … the stars.” De rev, I, Introduction (Rosen, 7; Wallis, 8).

p. 9 “between the … night.” De rev, IV, 27 (Wallis, 223).

p. 10 “with two stout … salt pork.” Banville, 40–41.

p. 11 “The inns … spilled out.” Banville, 43.

p. 11 “To produce … vinegar.” BLTC Research, “Arnold of Villanova,” http://www.general-anaesthesia.com/images/arnold-of-villanova.html.

p. 14 “O right … country.” Rosen, Minor Works, 29.

p. 14 “Theophylactus … garden.” Rosen, Minor Works, 29.

p. 14–15 “Among mares … Nature’s tears.” Rosen, Minor Works, 31.

p. 15 “Just as … rectified.” Rosen, Minor Works, 29.

p. 15 “conspicuous … demeanor.” Rosen, Minor Works, 27.

p. 15 “the scholar … principles.” Rosen, Minor Works, 27.

p. 16 “Stroll through … dust.” Rosen, Minor Works, 50.

CHAPTER 2

p. 17 “The center … lunar sphere.” Rosen, Treatises, 58; Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 436.

p. 18 “A manuscript … still.” Gingerich, The Book Nobody Read, 36; Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 431.

p. 18 Evidence that Copernicus did not know of Aristarchus’s heliocentric theory was first published by Owen Gingerich: “Did Copernicus Owe …?”

p. 20 “that most outstanding of astronomers.” De rev, II, 14 (Rosen, 83).

p. 20 “shuddered.” De rev, I, 4 (Wallis, 12).

p. 20 “All spheres … Sun.” Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 436.

p. 20 “What appear to us … other planet.” Rosen, Treatises, 58–59.

p. 21 “headlong whirl.” Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 444.

p. 22 “Whatever motion … outermost heaven.” Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 436.

p. 22 “utterly ridiculous … think of.” Toomer, 44.

p. 22 “for the sake … larger book.” Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 438.

p. 22 “Mercury runs … the planets.” Rosen, Treatises, 90.

p. 23 “Compared to … imperceptible.” Swerdlow, “Derivation,” 436.

p. 23–24 “So vast … Almighty.” De rev, I, 10 (Rosen, 22).

p. 26 “Doctor Nicolaus … work-yard.” Gingerich and MacLachlan, 79.

p. 27 “The ancients … Vistula.” De rev, V, 25 (quoted in Gingerich, Eye, 383; translation attributed to Ann Wegner).

CHAPTER 3

German historian Franz Hipler paid the first scholarly attention to these “Leases” in a Copernicus quadricentennial festschrift volume published at Braunsberg (near Frauenburg) in 1873. Ten years later, Leopold Prowe included excerpts from them in his two-volume biography of Copernicus (in German). Edward Rosen completed the English translation, quoted here, in 1985.

p. 29 “Stenzel … 1 horse.” Rosen, Minor Works, 232.

p. 33 “Leasing … 1517.” Rosen, Minor Works, 228.

p. 33 “He got … 2 horses.” Rosen, Minor Works, 228.

p. 33 “Bartolt … Heironym, etc.” Rosen, Minor Works, 231.

p. 34 “who is … in name.” Rosen, Minor Works, 232.

p. 34 “4 horses … 1 scythe.” Rosen, Minor Works, 233.

p. 34 “Gregor Knobel … grown up.” Rosen, Minor Works, 228.

p. 34 “Hans Caluke … 4 May.” Rosen, Minor Works, 235.

p. 34 “Jacob Wayner … overseer.” Rosen, Minor Works, 234.

p. 35–36 “Jacob took … annual payment.” Rosen, Minor Works, 234.

p. 36 “Gregor … thievery.” Rosen, Minor Works, 232.

p. 36 “Petrus … away.” Rosen, Minor Works, 233.

p. 37 “Jacob … old.” Rosen, Minor Works, 233.

p. 37—38 “in the year … after sunrise.” De rev, III, 3 (Evans, 457, n. 22).

p. 38 “Jacob has … brother.” Rosen, Minor Works, 234.

p. 39 “When the money … Heaven.” “The 95 Theses and Their Results,” http://www.luther.de/en/anschlag.html.

p. 40 “Voytek … rental.” Rosen, Minor Works, 234.

p. 40 “Lurenz … 4 parcels.” Rosen, Minor Works, 234.

p. 40 “Stenzel … 33 marks.” Rosen, Minor Works, 236.

CHAPTER 4

p. 41 “Coinage … magnitude.” Rosen, Minor Works, 176–77.

p. 42 “the first … Scorpion.” De rev, V, 14 (Rosen, 261).

p. 42 “changes and … men.” Grafton, 53.

p. 43 “Most Gracious … Lord.” Biskup and Dobrzycki, 74.

p. 43 “For we … care.” Biskup and Dobrzycki, 74.

p. 46 “The worst mistake … drove it out.” Rosen, Minor Works, 180, 183.

p. 46 “Such grave evils … own hands.” Rosen, Minor Works, 184.

p. 46 “before … country.” Rosen, Minor Works, 184.

p. 47 “For … enough.” Rosen, Minor Works, 185.

p. 49 “2 and … midnight.” De rev, IV, 5 (Wallis, 187).

p. 49 “In this area … error.” De rev, IV, 3 (Rosen, 177).

p. 49 “In expounding … the Earth.” De rev, IV, 1 (Rosen, 173).

CHAPTER 5

p. 52 “Faultfinding … poet.” Rosen, Treatises, 93. Rosen first translated Copernicus’s Letter Against Werner in 1939, from copies then available, and revised his translation in 1985 after examining several more copies that had come to light.

p. 53 “I therefore see … what is mine.” Rosen, Minor Works, 312. This letter, translated from the original Latin by Edward Rosen, commands attention primarily for having survived the centuries, with its signature—“Nic. Coppernic”—intact, in the University Library at Uppsala.

p. 53 “To the Reverend … Copernicus.” Rosen, Treatises, 93.

p. 55 “Some time ago … Nuremberg.” Rosen, Treatises, 93.

p. 55 “Had it been … pleasure” and “I may … effort.” Rosen, Treatises, 93.

p. 55 “However … fawner.” Rosen, Treatises, 93.

p. 55–56 “Perhaps my … this subject.” Rosen, Treatises, 93–94.

p. 56 “In the … time.” Rosen, Treatises, 94.

p. 56 “We must … skill.” Rosen, Treatises, 99–100 (slightly modified).

p. 58 “a second … the first,” and “childish blunder,” Rosen, Treatises, 104.

p. 58 “What finally … further.” Rosen, Treatises, 106.

p. 58 “While referring … from love.” Kesten, 229.

p. 59 “Undeniably … the weeds.” Kesten, 229.

p. 60 “What kind … to say.” Rosen, Minor Works, 189.

p. 63 “I saw Venus … at Frauenburg.” De rev, V, 23 (Rosen, 276).

p. 64 “Some years ago … Farewell.” De rev, front matter (Rosen, xxi).

CHAPTER 6

p. 66 “From one … the baskets.” Rosen, Minor Works, 281.

p. 67 “My noble lord … acceptable.” Rosen, Minor Works, 320.

p. 70–71 “Your Most Revered Lordship … your commands.” Rosen, Minor Works, 323–24.

p. 71 “Therefore … bodies.” Rosen, Minor Works, 326.

p. 72 “With regard … acceptable.” Rosen, Minor Works, 331.

p. 72 “even … stable” and “it is unbecoming … church.” Rosen, Minor Works, 340.

p. 73 “My lord … all my faculties.” Rosen, Minor Works, 332–333.

p. 73 “I have now done … warnings.” Rosen, Minor Works, 334.

p. 74 “Care should … higher judge.” Rosen, Minor Works, 336.

p. 75 “I am sending … one another.” Rosen, Minor Works, 336–37.

p. 76 “Together … judgment.” Rosen, Minor Works, 337.

p. 76 “I most humbly … and help.” Rosen, Minor Works, 343.

p. 79 “shy by nature.” “those arts … crowds,” and “It is characteristic … such things.” “Preface to Arithmetic” in Melanchthon, 90–91.

p. 79 “Astrology … the planets.” Table Talk DCCXCIX (quoted in Kraai, 12, n. 28). Chess Grand Master Jesse Kraai wrote his doctoral dissertation for the University of Heidelberg about Rheticus’s efforts to establish a new astrology founded on a firm astronomical basis.

CHAPTER 7

Edward Rosen translated the Latin text of Rheticus’s First Account, or Narratio Prima, into English in 1939. His rendering, quoted extensively in this chapter, remains the only English translation of the document.

p. 163 “It is … philosophy.” Rosen, Treatises, 177–78 (except that “circle” is rendered as “sphere” in accordance with Swerdlow’s “Pseudodixia,” 122–23, n. 19).

p. 163 “Driven by … encourage me.” Danielson, 139.

p. 164 “I had … weeks.” Rosen, Treatises, 109.

p. 164 “To the illustrious … have studied.” Rosen, Treatises, 109.

p. 165 “My teacher … method.” Rosen, Treatises, 109–10.

p. 166 “We see … the world.” Rosen, Treatises, 121–22.

p. 166 “A boundless … Amen.” Rosen, Treatises, 131.

p. 167 “Indeed … alone.” Rosen, Treatises, 136.

p. 167 “Hence you agree … phenomena.” Rosen, Treatises, 140–41.

p. 167 “most nobly … golden chain.” Rosen, Treatises, 165.

p. 167 “To offer …,” “Let me …,” and “But that you …” Rosen, Treatises, 115, 119, 128.

p. 167 “Most illustrious … goal.” Rosen, Treatises, 186.

p. 168 “You might say … land.” Rosen, Treatises, 190.

p. 168 “fisheries …,” “the illustrious …,” and “eloquent and wise …” Rosen, Treatises, 189–90.

p. 169 “At his … assignations.” Rosen, Treatises, 371.

p. 169 “His Reverence … do so.” Rosen, Treatises, 192.

p. 169–70 “Since my teacher … senses.” Rosen, Treatises, 192.

p. 170 “compose … proofs.” Rosen, Treatises, 192.

p. 170 “Then His Reverence … relied.” Rosen, Treatises, 193.

p. 170 “By these … the world.” Rosen, Treatises, 195.

p. 170–71 “When he … of office.” Rosen, Treatises, 195–96.

p. 172 “from … Lutheranism,” Rosen, Scientific Revolution, 161.

p. 172 “that Your … protection.” Danielson, 79, 211.

p. 173 “This and other … troubled mind.” Rosen, Treatises, 121.

p. 173 “to the …,” “splendid …,” and “Although … pass.” Swerdlow, “Annals,” 273–74.

p. 173–74 “Almighty … better” and “without … age.” Rosen, Minor Works, 344.

p. 174 “recalling … sufferer.” Rosen, Minor Works, 345.

p. 174 “are not … motions.” Rosen, Minor Works, 344–45.

p. 174 “The peripatetics … the author.” Rosen, De rev, 335.

p. 175 “contrary,” “a true … astronomy,” and “imploring … friend.” Danielson, 212.

p. 175 “a greater … my friend.” Letter translated in Danielson, 212–13.

p. 175 “Urania … I do.” Gemma letter of July 20, 1541, quoted in Danielson, 116–17.

p. 176 “I have … negligible.” Rosen, Minor Works, 350.

p. 176 “These writings … undergo …” Rosen, De rev, 351.

p. 177 “Highborn prince … doubt.” Rosen, Scientific Revolution, 181–82.

p. 177 “Upon my departure … as he.” Rheticus Dedication, On the Sides and Angles of Triangles, quoted in Danielson, 95.

p. 177 “Heliopolitanus,” Kraai, 4, 74, 105.

p. 178 “So it goes … the Earth.” Rosen, Scientific Revolution, 183.

p. 178 “the Polish … Sun.” Letter of October 16, 1541, to Mithobius, quoted in Danielson, 91.

p. 178 “I regret … published.” Rheticus’s dedication to Heinrich Widenauer, quoted in Danielson, 98; also quoted by Westman in Gingerich, Nature of Scientific Discovery, 410.

CHAPTER 8

p. 179 “I confess … very questions.” De rev, I, Introduction (Rosen, 8).

p. 179–80 “I can … stage.” De rev, Copernicus Dedication (Rosen, 3; Wallis, 4).

p. 180 “They exhorted … proofs.” Dedication (Rosen, 3).

p. 180 “the structure … its parts.” Dedication (Rosen, 4).

p. 180 “After long … philosophers” and “against … sense.” Dedication (Rosen, 4). For Copernicus’s ignorance of the heliocentric model of Aristarchus, see Gingerich, “Did Copernicus Owe … ?”

p. 181 “Therefore … imagine.” Dedication (Rosen, 5).

p. 181 “In order … mathematics.” Dedication (Rosen, 5; Wallis, 7).

p. 181–82 “Perhaps … censure it.” Dedication (Rosen, 5).

p. 182 “Astronomy is … the work itself.” Dedication (Rosen, 5).

p. 186 “I was shocked … emergency.” Rosen, Scientific Revolution, 165–66.

p. 187 “You have … profit.” Rosen, De rev, xix; Gingerich, Book Nobody Read, 20.

p. 187–88 “There have … enough.” Osiander Preface in Rosen, De rev, xx.

p. 188 “And if … him” and “Therefore … Farewell.” Osiander Preface in Rosen, De rev, xx.

CHAPTER 9

p. 189 “Anyone … produced …” Gingerich, Census, 285.

p. 189 “so maul … future.” Rosen, Treatises, 405.

p. 190 “On my return … sorrow.” Rosen, De rev, 339.

p. 190 “I have written … Preface.” Rosen, De rev, 339.

p. 192 “I am not … zeal.” Rosen, De rev, 339.

p. 192 “a man … to appear” and “not … scholars.” De rev, Copernicus Dedication (Rosen, 3).

p. 192 “I explain … weak.” Rosen, De rev, 339.

p. 192 “for if … deceased.” Rosen, De rev, 340.

p. 193 “acerbities” and “omitted and sweetened,” Rosen, De Rev, 340.

p. 194 “She … to you.” Rosen, Scientific Revolution, 169.

p. 196 “He has halfway … refused” and “He lay ill … him alone.” Danielson, 217–18.

p. 197 “stimulated … bodies” and “to … Leipzig.” Danielson, 129.

p. 198 “whose hand … this world.” Danielson, 139.

p. 198 “I have not … width.” Danielson, 139.

p. 198 “What sort … and devotion.” Danielson, 143.

p. 198 “a sudden … unchristian,” “minor child,” and “plied … sodomy.” Danielson, 143–44.

p. 199 “I have … stars.” Danielson, 162.

p. 200 “again … commentary.” Danielson, 172.

p. 200 “We had … of day.” Westman in Gingerich, Nature of Scientific Discovery; Danielson, 191.

p. 201 “Twice … drowning.” Danielson, 193.

p. 201 “I excavated … wonderfully.” Danielson, 199.

CHAPTER 10

p. 202 “I deem … contemplate it.” Caspar, 384.

p. 202–3 “In truth … world.” Ferguson, 47.

p. 207 “I consider … astronomy.” Astronomia Nova (Donahue, 43; Ferguson, 98–99).

p. 207 “burning eagerness.” Ferguson, 155.

p. 208 “Days and nights … wind.” Mysterium (Caspar, 63; Ferguson, 192).

p. 209 “I build … world.” Epitome (Wallis, 10).

p. 210 “I was … ridiculous me.” Astronomia nova (Gingerich and Ann Brinkley, quoted in Gingerich, Eye, 320).

p. 210 “sacred frenzy.” Gingerich, Eye, 407.

p. 210 “If you … much time.” Gingerich, Eye, 357.

p. 210 “hesitating … machine.” Mysterium (Giora Han in Kremer and Wlodarczyk, 208).

p. 211 “It is … Copernicus.” Gingerich, Eye, 300.

p. 211 “the unexpected … natural causes.” Rudolfine Tables (Ferguson, 346).

p. 211 “Thee, O Lord … to that.” Harmonies of the World (Wallis, 240).

CHAPTER 11

p. 214 “The constitution … the word.” Dedication in Galileo’s Dialogue (Drake, 3–4).

p. 214 “Would it … effort.” Ferguson, 206.

p. 217 “Summon men … at all.” Rosen, Scientific Revolution, 189.

p. 217 “concerning … humanity” and “read the … class.” Astronomia nova (Donahue, 19, 21). Science historian William H. Donahue, who translated the New Astronomy from the Latin, says that Kepler’s arguments on the interpretation of Scripture became the most widely read of his writings, often reprinted in modern languages, and the only work by Kepler to appear in English before the 1870s.

p. 218 “I believe … completely.” Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Cristina (Drake, Discoveries, 183–84). In addition to the passages quoted here from the Letter to the Grand Duchess Cristina, in dependent scholar Stillman Drake translated all of Galileo’s works, most of which were written and originally published in Italian, not Latin.

p. 218–19 “To ban … of Heaven.” Letter (Drake, Discoveries, 196.)

p. 219 “Now let us … teach us astronomy.” Letter (Drake, Discoveries, 211–12.)

p. 220 “If we … stop too.” Letter (Drake, Discoveries, 212–13.)

p. 221 “the whole system … sacred text” and “in … heavens.” Letter (Drake, Discoveries, 213–14).

p. 221 “Grave … retardation” and “if … it resides.” Letter (Drake, Discoveries, 214–15).

p. 222 “The words … in motion.” Quoted in Drake, Discoveries, 164.

p. 222 “the quiescence … erroneous in faith.” Consultants’ Report on Copernicanism, Finocchiaro, 146.

p. 223 “false … Scripture.” Decree of the Index, Finocchiaro, 149.

CHAPTER 12

In 1854 Jan Baranawski, a director of the Warsaw Observatory, published Copernicus’s complete works in Latin and Polish—the first full translation into a modern language.

p. 226 “I have … gave it up.” Gingerich, Census, xxvii. Gingerich gave running commentary on his search for all sixteenth-century copies of Copernicus’s book in academic periodicals, such as American Scholar and the Journal for the History of Astronomy. He also wrote a complete popular account, called The Book Nobody Read (Walker, 2004).

p. 229 “It is very … passage.” Gingerich, Census, xxii.

p. 230 “For is … the Sun?” Gingerich, Census, 78.

p. 230–31 “Does the … irregularity.” Gingerich, Census, 79.

p. 235 “So vast … Almighty.” De rev I, 10 (Rosen, 22).