Description

    An Excellent Copy of Galileo's Dialogo, Containing the Argument that the Earth Revolves around the Sun

    Galileo Galilei. Systema cosmicum ... In quo quatuor dialogis, de duobus maximis mundi systematibus, Ptolemaico & Copernicano, utriusq[ue] rationibus philosophicis ac naturalibus indefinite propositis, disseritur. Ex Italica lingua Latine conversum. Accessit appendix gemina, qua SS. Scripturæ dicta cum terræ mobilitate conciliantur. Strassburg: Impensis Elzeviriorum, Typis Davidis Hautti, 1635.

    First edition in Latin of Galileo's Dialogo (first published in Italian in 1632). Translated by Kepler's friend and Strassburg humanist Matthias Bernegger. Quarto. [16], 495, [1, blank], [24] pages. including added engraved title ("Dialogus de systemate mundi") depicting Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Copernicus, and engraved portrait of Galileo by J. von Heyden. Numerous intertextual woodcut diagrams, decorative head- and tailpieces, and initials throughout.

    Full eighteenth-century mottled sheep. Single fillet borders rolled in gilt, spine ruled in gilt in compartments with four raised bands, edges sprinkled brown. Very minor worming to upper extremity of front joint. Text slightly browned, due to the poor quality of paper used in this edition ("L'impression et le papier sont des plus médiocres" (Willems).) Occasional minor foxing. Some minor abrasion to lower outer board edge, with the pasteboard just showing. Overall an excellent copy. Housed in a green leatherette slipcase.

    "Eight years after Pope Paul V had forbidden him to teach Copernican theory, Galileo received permission from a new Pope, Urban VIII, to discuss Copernican astronomy in a book, so long as that book provided equal and impartial discussions of the Church-approved Ptolemaic system. Galileo's Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems held to the letter of this command: the device of the dialogue, between a spokesman for Copernicus, one for Ptolemy and Aristotle, and an educated layman, allowed Galileo to remain technically uncommitted. After the book's publication, however, Urban took offense at what he felt to be its jibes against himself and ordered Galileo to be brought before the Inquisition in Rome. Galileo was condemned to permanent house arrest and forced to abjure all Copernican 'heresy'" (Norman Library 858, describing the 1632 first edition).

    "If it was not exactly written in defiance of the Inquisition, it was composed with the deliberate intention of bamboozling the censors and of outwitting Galileo's clerical enemies. The censors were the more easy to deceive; after the book was published Galileo's enemies dragged him to Rome in 1633, set him before the Inquisition, and forced him to abjure all that the Dialogo professed ...The book itself remained on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum until 1823 ... In 1615 [Galileo] was officially silenced as regards the truth of astronomy. The Dialogo was designed both as an appeal to the great public and as an escape from silence. In the form of an open discussion between three friends -- intellectually speaking, a radical, a conservative, and an agnostic -- it is a masterly polemic for the new science. It displays all the great discoveries in the heavens which the ancients had ignored; it inveighs against the sterility, willfulness, and ignorance of those who defend their systems; it revels in the simplicity of Copernican thought and, above all, it teaches that the movement of the earth makes sense in philosophy, that is, in physics. Astronomy and the science of motion, rightly understood, says Galileo, are hand in glove. There is no need to fear that the earth's rotation will cause it to fly to pieces ...The Dialogo, far more than any other work, made the heliocentric system a commonplace" (Printing and the Mind of Man 128).

    This first Latin edition is notable for containing in the Appendix two tracts not present in the original Italian edition: on pp. 459-464 the introduction to Kepler's Astronomia nova ("Perioche ex introductione in Martem Johannis Kepleri, Mathematici Cæsarei") and on pp. 465-495 the first Latin edition of Paolo Antonio Foscarini's "Letter concerning the Opinion of the Pythagoreans and Copernicus about the Mobility of the Earth and Stability of the Sun, and about the New Pythagorean System of the World" ("Epistola R.P.M. Pauli Antonii Foscarini, Carmelitani, circa Pythagoricorum, & Copernici opinionem de mobilitate terræ, et stabilitate solis: et de novo systemate seu consitiutione mundi"). In this work, first published in 1615, Foscarini defended the Copernican theory as true and defended it against charges that it conflicted with Scripture.

    Carli & Favaro 148. Cinti 96. Printing and the Mind of Man 128. Riccardi I (1), cols. 512-513. Sotheran, Second Supplement, I, 3156. Willems 426.




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