the wittich connection

con't « i sing the body electric (20th century)

Rudhyar rectified chart for America ~ 90° Dial
Dane Rudhyar natal chart ~ 90° Dial
Dane Rudhyar natal chart ~ Astro-Databank

The Wittich Connection:
Conflict and Priority in Late Sixteenth-Century Cosmology

Owen Gingerich and Robert S. Westman
Transactions of the American Philosophical Society
New Series, Vol. 78, No. 7 (1988), pp. i-viii+1-148


The skies of the 1570s displayed two astonishing phenomena: the outburst in 1572 of an unexpected new star in Cassiopeia and the appearance in 1577 of a brilliant new comet, whose tail stretched across Capricorn. Over half of the astronomical titles [1] produced by learned authors in this decade sought the meaning of these wondrous apparitions or "blasing starrs," and for many years historiography mirrored this attention. Until recently, questions regarding the arrangement of the planets have received less notice, mostly because such themes are absent from published titles in the 1570s. [2] And, indeed, not until 1588 did a contemporary book address both the heliocentric cosmology and the recent appearances. Tycho Brahe's De mundi aetherei recentioribus phaenomenis scrupulously assembled observations from all over Europe relating to the flaming object that had appeared in 1577, and amidst its abundance of calculations, tables and triangles, it presented the comet as an "aetherial phenomenon" rather than an earthly exhalation. However, somewhat abruptly and mysteriously in chapter 8, Tycho introduced a geoheliocentric planetary arrangement wherein "everything agrees most fittingly with the celestial appearances," and he recommended it against the Copernican alternative, which although "it nowhere offends the principles of mathematics, yet it throws the Earth, this lazy, sluggish body, unfit for motion, into a motion as swift as the aetherial torches." [3] How and why was a new cosmology introduced in the context of these prodigies of the aetherial realm? Was it simply a matter, as the popular histories have it, that the Comet of 1577 had smashed the crystalline spheres?

According to a prevalent scholarly view of sixteenth-century cosmology, Tycho's world system was an obvious middle option that permitted astronomers to steer a safe course between the late medieval Ptolemaic universe of nested eccentric spheres and Copernicus' sun-centered cosmos. Here we propose to examine a body of new evidence that casts doubt on the theme of inevitability in the accepted story. If, as some maintain, the Tychonic arrangement was so obvious, then why did it take over forty years after the publication of Copernicus' De revolutionibus for the system to be introduced? Indeed, why, after the first hint of its possibility, did it take Tycho over a decade to come to grips with certain physical difficulties of the system? Was the development of "Tycho's system" really inevitable?

One answer to these questions lies in a study of the less visible community of which Tycho was a part. That community consisted of a small, elite network of academic and court astronomers located in several major cities of German Hapsburg realms with links to Tycho's island fiefdom of Hven and to humanistic circles elsewhere in Europe. Evidence that we have been uncovering for more than a decade reveals that during the 1570s and '80s this group was privately glossing, clarifying, and criticizing Copernicus' De revolutionibus. These marginal footprints, residues of a once intense discussion, indelibly record a particular community's practices of reading and construing an astronomical text. Furthermore, as we shall see, it was in the context of such communal study that a notion of personal discovery and priority emerged, closely associated with feudal prerogatives of honor.

For some time we had wondered why an apparently obvious source, a richly annotated copy of De revolutionibus identified as Tycho's now in the Clementinum in Prague, had played such a small role in the analysis of his thought. This question became especially pressing some years ago when we discovered several other copies Copernicus' book annotated in the same hand, and which included extraordinarily interesting diagrams of a semi-Tychonic system. In the course of our researches we eventually found that these precious Copernican volumes had been annotated not by the Danish instrument builder and observer, as we had originally thought, but by a little known, wandering mathematician, Paul Wittich of Wratislavia. Once convinced of this reattribution, we proceeded to reconsider our various earlier accounts. The diagrams and notes were not Tycho's, but somehow they were connected with his work. Indeed, the more we found, the more we realized that Wittich was deeply implicated in the web of debate and controversy that eventually led Tycho to abandon the solid spheres and to construct an alternative cosmology with interpenetrating spheres. [4]

The story that follows is a complex one, and we have wrestled for some years with the task of telling it in a fashion that reflects our own excitement as some of these discoveries unfolded. In the first major section we shall describe how the earlier attribution to Tycho came about, how we unscrambled this misidentification, what we have found about the life of Paul Wittich, and how Tycho pursued Wittich's library with final success. In the second section we shall discuss the salient features of Wittich's Copernican annotations and their relationships to the earlier ones by Erasmus Reinhold. In the third section we shall describe the relationship between Wittich's systematic notes and Tycho's own struggles to establish his priority in reordering the heavens. We reserve for a further publication Wittich's discovery of the so-called "prosthaphaeresis method" of trigonometrical computations and their direct connection with John Napier and logarithms.

i'm out of space on previous post, but important note: Rudhyar's Neptune {13GE14} ☌ USA DSC {13GE10} & on 90° Dial both ☌ USA ASC {13SG10}. also note Poseidon (Asteroid) ☍ Poseidon (Uranian) on 15-Jun-2011 Eclipse & during eclipse: Sun, Moon, Askalaphus, Nemesis, Poseidon (Asteroid) conjunct on 90° Dial; Wescott noted then that "Askalaphus/Nemesis: Interest in cause of disease". also added note to America on the 90° Dial, since USA ASC {13SG10} ☍ USA Nemesis {28AR34}. Rudhyar's Nemesis {12AR49} ☌ Olea {12CP04}, both opposite USA Lachesis {27TA49} (Intervention).

Uranus ☌ Athene on Rudhyar's dial chart represents his mission to convey astrological information pertinent to the 21st century. fundamentally, Uranus = Electricity & Athene = Nation. note: on the dial, Athene ☌ Elpis {04CP18} (Hope) & Reinhold {04CP37} [+][+]; Uranus {19SC36Rx} ☌ USA Cardano {19LE17}. etymology for oil comes from "olive tree" & Olea {12CP04} ☌ Nemesis {12AR49}, Vaticana {12CN53} [see Ottoboniana below], USA Sun {13CN20}, USA Psyche {14CN52}.

looking at Rudhyar's Wratislavia/Mars ☍ Chariklo/Vertex. Wratislavia {12VI06Rx}, Mars {12GE08}, Great Attractor {12SG30}, Poseidon {12VI59Rx} conjunct USA ASC {13SG10} & USA DSC {13GE10}. these are opposite Chariklo {27CP04}, Phaethon {27AR24}, Concordia {27CN32}, Vertex {27CN50}. Wratislavia = Wittich Connection. i looked at a couple of stellium's in the 15-Jun-2011 Eclipse chart involving Chariklo, Antares, Elpis, Great Attractor, Moon & Galactic Center. Chariklo {01SG37Rx} during the eclipse, conjunct Rudhyar's Hephaistos {01GE48} and opposite Erichthonios {16AR29} (Hephaistos was Erichthonios' father). Rudhyar's Pallas {24SG31} conjunct 15-Jun-2011 Eclipse Moon {24SG23}.

Patricia {01SG37Rx} (which i use to indicate an individual's Patronus) begins the Chariklo stellium & Rudhyar's Patricia {17LE10Rx} ☌ Hauptmann {17AQ53} and both opposite Rudhyar's Sun {02AR08}, Nostalgia {02AR48} USA IC {02AR08}, USA Midheaven {02LI08}, USA Regiomontanus {02CN17}.

Sappho, Hephaistos, Memoria & Phaethon are mentioned in Wescott's Prescience for Mid-August – Mid-September (Posted August 17, 2011):

  • Sappho/Hephaistos (tension in relationships due to "differences") conjunct 20-Aug-2011 at 4-5° Gemini - A Revolutionary Magazine Asking For Action.
  • Sappho/Memoria℞ ("remember when" regarding a friend) approximately 10° mid-August, closest approach before Sappho℞ approximately Oct 22nd (19-20° Gemini - A Modern Cafeteria Displays An Abundance Of Food, Products Of Various Regions / 21-22° Gemini - Dancing Couples In A Harvest Festival); Sappho/Memoria conjunct 15-Feb-2012 at 8-9° Gemini - A Quiver Filled With Arrows.
  • Phaethon/Memoria (memories about a car or other vehicle… (Yeah, remember "glass packs" and fins?)… driving puts you in a kind of reverie and Phaethon = "getting carried away" and "going too fast") reached the same degree on 06-Apr-2011 (0-1° Taurus - A Clear Mountain Stream; Meaning: The pure uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature) & over the next 144 days, to Aug 28th, were on the same degree for 92 days; they'll conjunct again (only once) approximately 26-Sep-2013 at 16-17° Virgo - A Volcanic Eruption. Nostalgia on 06-Apr-2011 at 3-4° Capricorn - A Group Of People Outfitting A Large Canoe At The Start Of A Journey By Water; and 26-Sep-2013 at 27-28° Taurus - A Woman, Past Her "Change Of Life", Experiences A New Love (Meaning: Man’s capacity to rise in consciousness and feelings above biological limitations).
  • worth quoting this entire "snippet": "Lachesis, Rx\Psyche – Panacea = Phaethon: In an unsuccessful attempt to interrupt feelings of vulnerability or emotional pain, a person can think that going for a drive will make them feel better!"
  • Rudhyar's Rubezahl {03GE11} ☌ USA Sappho {03VI33}; Rudhyar's Sappho {03SC05Rx} ☌ Cardano {03LE60}; Rudhyar's Fanatica {06GE15}, Memoria {06GE58} ☌ USA Memoria {06PI52}, USA Hephaistos {06GE42}.

  • (690) Wratislavia :: Main-belt Asteroid Discovered 1909 Oct. 16 by J. H. Metcalf at Taunton. Named for the (then German) city of Breslau in the province of Silesia {see planet (257)}. Wratislavia is the Latin form of the name.
  • (257) Silesia :: Main-belt Asteroid Discovered 1886 Apr. 5 by J. Palisa at Vienna. Named for the native province of the discoverer. There was an Austrian and a German part of Silesia, bordering the Sudeten mountains and the valley of the upper Oder river. The region nowadays chiefly belongs to northern Czechoslovakia and southwestern Poland.
  • (8381) Hauptmann :: Main-belt Asteroid Discovered 1992 Sept. 21 by F. Börngen at Tautenburg. Named for the dramatist and writer Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946), a leading personality in the field of German naturalism. His work frequently depicts social problems and the ups and downs of life, often viewed from his homeland of Silesia. Beginning in 1904, he lived on Hiddensee, a small island in the Baltic Sea, where he was also buried. Hauptmann was honored with the 1912 Nobel Prize in literature.
  • (10764) Rubezahl :: Main-belt Asteroid Discovered 1990 Oct. 12 by F. Börngen and L. D. Schmadel at Tautenburg. The Silesian mountain goblin Rübezahl is master of the Riesengebirge. He teases the wanderer, gives presents to the poor and guards the treasures within the mountains. The first Rübezahl legends were collected in 1662 by J. Praetorius in his Daemonologia Rubinzalii Silesii.
Wittich Connection

The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus (Owen Gingerich, 2004), "Our task was then clear: to find out everything possible about the elusive Paul Wittich. To begin with, Wittich was born in Wratislavia — today Wrocław, sometimes Breslau. But who was the mysterious Paul Wittich? Changing the attribution from Brahe to Wittich unexpectedly cleared up one puzzle, explaining in a stroke why Copenhagen and Uraniborg weren't in the geographic table in Ottoboniana 1902, and why Wratislavia was." {review}; see also, The Wittich Connection: Conflict and Priority in Late Sixteenth-Century Cosmology (Owen Gingerich & Robert S. Westman, 1988). Gingerich checked various marginalia in Copernicus' De revolutionibus (first published 1543, sparking Scientific revolution), responding to Arthur Koestler’s claim it was "the book nobody read". Paul Wittich, one of many astronomers who did read the book, had the best marginalia. so good, in fact, Tycho Brahe collected all Wittich copies. priority was Brahe taking credit for Wittich's best ideas: the Tychonic system (a geoheliocentric model midway between the Ptolemaic (geocentric) & Copernican (heliocentric) models, providing an alternative for astronomers unable to commit to the Copernican system) originated with Wittich, as well as prosthaphaeresis. Gingerich's research helped clarify Wittich's contributions.

however, it's the Great Comet of 1577 that points to the role of comets — and not Uranus — as the object that "destroyed at a stroke the old world, the safe, contained solar system bounded by Saturn" & smashing the crystalline spheres.

Chiron's discovery (inside the orbit of Uranus) in 1977 sparked a new Golden Age of discovery, further fueled by the discovery of Chiron's cometary character in 1988. one key element of Dan Furst's work on the Scorpionic America Chart is the Chiron-Neptune conjunction.

Ottoboniana & Venus/Regulus conjunction

[The Wittich Connection :: IIB. The Vatican Wittich Copy] Ottoboniana 1902, in the manuscript collection of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, is bound in red-orange morocco with the arms of Pope Pius IX (1846-78) gold-stamped on the spine. It has, therefore, lost much of the physical evidence of its earlier provenance, but part of its history can be deduced from the Vatican records. At some point around the time of the Thirty Years' War, the copy was brought to Sweden and subsequently it entered the collection of Queen Christina (1626-89). When Christina abdicated in 1654, and converted to Catholicism, a move that earned for her the epithet "Mad," she took the book to Rome, where it appeared in the 1655 catalogue of her library.[109] After Christina's death, her books were acquired in 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII (1610-91), the former Cardinal Pietro Vito Ottoboni. [+]

The text of Ottoboniana 1902 has been richly annotated throughout by Wittich, including four preliminary pages and 30 pages following f. 196. The first annotations derive from Erasmus Reinhold, undoubtedly via Wittich's Liège copy. They include the telltale motto on the title page about the axiom of astronomy. On ff. 54 and 163 is an observation of a conjunction of Venus and Regulus dated 16 September 1574, and on f. 57v one of a conjunction of Jupiter and Fomalhaut dated 8 November 1572; the observations are also in the Liège copy. On the introduction Andreae Osiandrj is added in red ink.


[The Wittich Connection :: IIC. The Prague and Wroclaw Wittich Copies] The [Prague copy] marginalia include not only cross references to other folios in De revolutionibus, but also citations to other authors or works such as Regiomontanus' triangles, his Epitome of the Almagest, Johannes Stadius, Petrus Nonius, Ramus, Cardano, Censorinus, Reinhold, and John Dee. The latter reference (on f. 124v) is particularly significant because it concerns parallax distance measurements, a topic of considerable interest not only to Wittich but also to his contemporaries, who realized that distance measurements to the nova of 1572 and the comet of 1577 held important clues to the nature of the universe. The citation, unique in the Prague copy, to "Johannes Lee [110] in libello parallatico suo" refers to Dee's Parallaticae commentationis praxeosque nucleus quidam (London, 1573) [+], a book on the 1572 nova whose title specifically emphasizes the question of distance.
[110] Horský (supra n. 7), points out that it is possible to read the elaborate D on Dee's title page as an L.