Bearing the Heavens: Tycho Brahe and the Astronomical Community of the Late Sixteenth Century

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Bearing the Heavens is a ground-breaking study of the astronomical culture of sixteenth-century Europe. It examines, in particular, the ways in which members of the nascent international astronomical community shared information, attracted patronage and respect for their work, and conducted their disputes. Particular attention is paid to the Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), known for his observatory Uraniborg on the island of Hven, his operation of a printing press, and his development of a third world-system to rival those of Ptolemy and Copernicus. Adam Mosley examines the ways in which Tycho interacted with a Europe-wide network of scholars, looking not only at how he constructed his reputation through print, but also at his use of correspondence and the role that instruments played as vehicles for data and theories. The book will be of interest to historians of science, historians of the book, and historians of early modern culture in general.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bearing the Heavensaccomplishes the difficult task of remaining narrow enough to be interesting, scholarly, and very thorough, yet broad enough to valuable for early modern scholars in just about every discipline."
-Valerie Cullen, Comitatus

" in scholarly details..." -William R. Shea, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521838665
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2007
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Mosley is Lecturer in History at the University of Wales Swansea.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations     ix
Acknowledgements     xii
List of abbreviations     xiv
Bearing the heavens     1
Coelifer: Atlas as bearer of the heavens     4
Astronomy and kingship: disciplinary history and princely practice     19
Tycho Brahe, Prince of Astronomers     25
Tycho Brahe's astronomical letters     31
Tycho Brahe and the Republic of Letters     33
Epistolary origins: the beginning of the Hven-Kassel exchanges     39
Weddings, merchants, and other hindrances to goodwill     50
Epistolary calibration: instruments, refraction and cosmology at Uraniborg and Kassel     55
Intellectual property, credit, and the exchange of gifts     99
Conclusion     111
Books and the heavens     116
From manuscript to print     119
To please all men of learning and goodwill?     119
A dedicated gift...?     126
...or an astronomical text?     137
Astronomical readers     149
Textual astronomy     149
The astronomical library     166
Readings hostile and authorial     182
A melancholy conclusion     205
Instruments     209
Globi Tychonici     217
Printing and privilege: books, globes, and gifts     243
Moving heaven and earth: models of celestial motion     265
Conclusion     284
Concluding remarks     289
Known and presumed owners of Tycho's works prior to 1602     298
References     307
General index     340
Index of correspondence     352
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