Nicolaus Copernicus; Niclas Koppernick

[Nicolaus Copernicus] Canon of Frauenburg, Dominican tertiary, author of the heliocentric planetary theory, born Thorn, Poland, 1473; died Frauenburg, East Prussia, 1543. He was educated at Krakow, Bologna, Padua, and Ferrara, studying medicine and jurisprudence at the last two. Though a cleric, it is uncertain whether he received higher orders. He gained renown as a physician practising at Reilsberg (1506-1512). He translated the letters of Theophylactus into Latin, 1509, and published a treatise on monetary reform, 1528. About 1528 he comlpleted his work on the revolutions of the celestial bodies, revealing his genius in grasping the truth long before it could be proved. He hesitated to publish it, but, influenced by the spread of the doctrine and the urging of Cardinal Schönberg, Archbishop of Capua, and Bishop Giese of Culm, he surrendered his manuscripts for publication. The work was seen through the press by Schöner and Osiander, in Nuremberg, appearing just before the death of Copernicus. It was dedicated to Pope Paul III. Osiander, to please Luther and Melanchthon, introduced the word "hypothesis" on the title page, and substituted a new preface without permission. The Protestant theologians soon objected to the theory and continued to do so. Catholic opposition began only seventy-three years later, at the time of the Galileo affair. The book was put temporarily on the Index (1616) till nine sentences declaring the system certain were removed or changed.

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