February 10, 2011

Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 4, Volume 2, Astronomy: Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

This manuscript of 1632 contains an incomplete, autographical editing of Dialogo sopra i massimi sistemi del mondo (Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems) by the Italian scientist and mathematician Galileo Galilei (1564–1642). The text of this version, at the National Central Library in Florence, is very close to the definitive manuscript prepared for print (the complete autographical version of the text is in the Seminary Library in Padua). Published in 1632, the Dialogo had occupied Galileo for six years and is one of his most important works. It takes the form of a discussion among a spokesman for Copernicus, a spokesman for Ptolemy and Aristotle, and an educated layman who the two spokesmen attempt to win over. The church had issued an edict in 1616, which prohibited Galileo from teaching the Copernican view of the solar system. Galileo traveled to Rome in 1624 to meet with Pope Urban VIII, who refused to lift the edict but gave Galileo permission to discuss the Copernican system in a book, provided he gave equal and impartial treatment to the geocentric view associated with Ptolemy and Aristotle. The Dialogo reflects Galileo’s attempt to advance his scientific views while observing the letter of the church’s order.

Free Will and Acts of Faith

This manuscript is a philosophical-religious work with citations from the Qurʼan. The text of this copy dating from the early 19th century is written in a very small and poor quality Nasta’liq script with black ink on thin yellowish paper. This style of Perso-Arabic script was the predominant style of Persian calligraphy in the 14th and 15th centuries and was very popular with Ottoman calligraphers. The manuscript is bound with ten other works dealing with grammar, rhetoric, and other subjects. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870-1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director, who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes, which reflect the development of Islamic civilization from its inception to the early 20th century. The manuscript is item 412 in Jozef Blaškovič, Arabské, turecké a perzské rukopisy Univerzitnej knižnice v Bratislave (Arab, Turkish, and Persian manuscripts in the University Library, Bratislava). The manuscripts bound with this one are items 290, 370, 318, 365, 280, 281, 388, 289, and 282.