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In the spring of 1500, at the apex of the Renaissance, a papal secretary to the Borgia Pope, Alexander VI, wrote that "All the world is in Rome." Though no one knew it at the time, this included a young scholar by the name of Nicolaus Copernicus who would one day change the world. One of the greatest polymaths of his or any age – linguist, lawyer, doctor, diplomat, politician, mathematician, scientist, astronomer, artist, cleric – Copernicus gave the world arguably the most important scientific discovery of the modern era: that earth and the planets revolve around the sun and that the earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours.
His heliocentric theory and the discoveries that would follow ushered in the age of modern astronomy, often called the Copernican Age, and change the way we look at the universe forever. This brilliant and controversial belief – born of a fusion of the theories of the great scholars of antiquity and the knowledge of the medieval Islamic world – was immortalised in Copernicus' epic "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium", a book whose very first printed copy was placed into his hands at the moment of his death in 1543. Here, for the first time, is a biography of Copernicus that not only describes his theories but the life of the man himself and the epic, thrilling times in which he lived.
List of Illustrations Introduction
1. 'This Remote Corner of the Earth'
2. A New Age
3. The Jagiellonian University of Krakow
4. Renaissance Italy
5. The Bishopric of Warmia
6. The Little Commentary
7. The Letter Against Werner
8. The Frauenburg Wenches
9. The First Disciple
10. The First Account
11. Preparing the Revolutions
12. The Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres
13. The Copernican Revolution
14. Debating the Copernican and Ptolemaic Models
15. The Newtonian Synthesis Epilogue Searching for Copernicus
John Freely is one of the most widely respected writers of travel books, histories and guides about Greece and Turkey. He is the author of The Grand Turk, Storm on Horseback, Children of Achilles, The Cyclades, The Ionian Islands, The Western Shores of Turkey, Strolling through Athens, Strolling through Venice and the bestselling Strolling through Istanbul (all I.B.Tauris). He lives in Istanbul.