Extremely rare first Latin edition of Galileo's revolutionary Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
Systema Cosmicum in Quo Quatuor Dialogis, de Duobus Maximis Mundi Systematibus, Ptolemaico et Copernicano. [Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems].
Item Number: 93890
Strasbourg: D. Hauttius for the Elzevir, 1635.
Rare first Latin edition of Galileo’s epoch-making Dialogo, the summation of the extraordinary mathematician’s astronomical thought and the work which directly precipitated his 1663 trial and judgement for heresy. Preceded only by the 1632 edition in Italian. Small octavo, bound in full contemporary vellum, engraved additional title page, full page engraved frontispiece portrait of Galileo by Jacob van der Heyden, woodcut diagrams, with the final leaf of errata. This Latin edition includes two tracts in the appendix not in the Italian edition of 1632, and it is the only major work of Galileo’s to be published outside Italy during his lifetime. The two added Latin tracts are the introduction to Kepler’s Astronomia nova (pp. 459-464), and a letter by Paolo Antonio Foscarini defending the truth of Copernicanism and rebutting the charge that it conflicted with scripture (pp. 465-495). With the appendix by P.A. Foscarini which contains an attempt to reconcile the Copernican views with the Holy Scripture. In near fine condition. Exceptionally rare, as the work was rigidly suppressed from the start.
Taking the form of a conversation between supporters of the rival geocentrist (Ptolemaic) with heliocentrist (Copernican) cosmic systems, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was immediately suppressed upon publication and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, from which it was not removed until 1835. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture". In 1633, Galileo was found to be "vehemently suspect of heresy" based on the book, and forced to recant. He was sentenced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest. The work also notably contains the first expression of Galileo's important theory of lunar tides, which was used as supporting evidence for his defense of the Copernican system.