Rosa ursina sive Sol ex admirando facularum & macularum suarum phoenomeno varius: necnon circa centrum suum et axem fixum ab occasu in ortum annua, circaq[ue] alium axem mobilem ab ortu in occasum conuersione quasi menstrua, super polos proprios, libris quatuor mobilis ostensus...

Bracciano: Andreas Phaeus, 1626-1630.

First edition, extremely rare large and thick paper copy, of the most lavishly illustrated astronomical work published in the first half of the seventeenth century, with many full-page illustrations of Scheiner’s observations of the sun and of the optical instruments he had designed for the purpose. “For his masterpiece, Scheiner produced the first monograph on a heavenly body, the Sun. Even today it is still an impressive volume, with scores of engravings of sunspots and the various instruments needed for solar observations” (Jesuit Science in the Age of Galileo). “Scheiner’s drawings in the Rosa Ursina are of almost modern quality, and there was little improvement in solar imaging until 1905” (Britannica). In this work “Scheiner agreed with Galileo that sunspots are on the Sun’s surface or in its atmosphere, that they are often generated and perish there, and that the Sun is therefore not perfect. Scheiner further advocated a fluid heavens (against the Aristotelian solid spheres), and he pioneered new ways of representing the motions of spots across the Sun’s face” (Galileo Project). Scheiner was one of the first to observe sunspots by telescope, in March 1611, and in 1612 he published his findings anonymously. This led to a famous controversy with Galileo, who claimed to have observed sunspots earlier, involving the exchange of several letters. Galileo then turned to other matters, notably the preparation of the Dialogo, but Scheiner continued his observations of sunspots, culminating in the publication of the present work more than a decade later. Scheiner devised a number of new instruments in order to make his observations. Kepler had conceived the ‘astronomical’ telescope, consisting of two converging lenses, but he never constructed one. Scheiner was the first to do so, and he added a third convex lens which transformed the inverted image into an erect one and greatly increased the field of view and brightness of the image. Scheiner also invented the first equatorially mounted telescope. All of these instruments are described and illustrated in Rosa Ursina, in which “Scheiner confirmed his method and criticized Galileo for failing to mention the inclination of the axis of rotation of the sunspots to the plane of the ecliptic” (DSB). But when the Dialogo was published in 1632, Scheiner was dismayed to find that Galileo dismissed Scheiner’s work and claimed there that he [Galileo] had known of the curved motion of sunspots and its explanation in terms of the inclination of the Sun’s axis since 1614 (although the evidence casts serious doubt on Galileo’s claims). “It has been said that his [i.e., Scheiner’s] enmity toward Galileo was instrumental in starting the process against the Florentine in 1633” (Galileo Project). Although this book appears on the market from time to time, we have been unable to locate any large paper copies in auction records. This copy measures 405 x 260mm; for comparison, the Macclesfield copy (in contemporary binding) was 350 x 230mm.

Scheiner (1573-1650) was appointed professor of Hebrew and mathematics at the Jesuit College at Ingolstadt in 1610. The following year Scheiner, together with his student Johann Baptist Cysat (1587-1657), constructed a telescope with which to observe the satellites of Jupiter, partly to investigate the claims made by Galileo in Sidereus nuncius (1610). At sunrise one day in March, they decided to observe the sun and noticed dark spots on its surface, although initially they were unsure whether this might be due to flaws in the lenses or to clouds. Scheiner was preoccupied with observations of Jupiter, and also of Venus, but Cysat persuaded him to return to the solar observations using coloured glass to enable them to observe in full daylight, a technique that was used by sailors when taking the altitude of the Sun. This was on 21 October, as Scheiner tells us in Rosa Ursina (Ad Lectorum, p. [2]). Others soon became aware of his observations, including the well-connected Augsburg humanist Marc Welser (1558-1614). Scheiner wrote three letters to Welser, dated 12 November and 19 and 26 December, which Welser published at his private press under the title Tres epistolae de maculis solaribus (1612). They appeared pseudonymously, as Scheiner’s Jesuit superiors urged caution, and were signed Apelles latens post tabulum, ‘Apelles hiding behind the painting’ (this refers to a story told by Pliny, well known in the Renaissance, about the famed Greek painter Apelles hiding behind one of his pictures to hear the comments of spectators). Welser sent copies abroad, notably to Galileo (1564-1642). Galileo identified Scheiner as a Jesuit and took him to task in three letters addressed to Welser, to which Scheiner replied in a further series of letters published as De maculis solaribusaccuratior disquisitio (1612). In this work Scheiner discussed the individual motions of the spots, their period of revolution, and the appearance of brighter patches or faculae on the surface of the sun. Galileo’s letters were published in Rome in 1613 as Istoriae dimostrazioni intorno alle macchie solari. His criticism of Scheiner’s priority claims was misconceived, for the sunspots were observed independently not only by Galileo in Florence and Scheiner in Ingolstadt, but also by Thomas Harriot in Oxford (who was the first to observe them by telescope), Johann Fabricius in Wittenberg (who was the first to publish a work on sunspots), and Domenico Passignani in Rome.

Having declared victory with the publication of Istoria e dimostrazioni, Galileo turned to other matters, notably the controversy on the comets (in which Scheiner may have played a role behind the scenes) and the preparation of the Dialogo. Scheiner was admonished personally by Claudio Aquaviva (1543-1615), the Superior General of the Jesuits, to follow the doctrines of traditional philosophy, and in his publications he now concentrated on the strictly mathematical and non-controversial subject of optics. Nevertheless, “it was in this period that Scheiner laid the foundations of his greatest work, Rosa Ursina. He had constructed a ‘helioscope’ for observing the Sun: the image of the Sun through the telescope was projected onto a sheet of paper placed about one metre from the eyepiece. This was a technique developed by Benedetto Castelli (1578-1643) and used by Galileo, but in his continuing study of sunspots and in demonstrating them to others, Scheiner made successive improvements. Following the sun with one’s telescope in order to keep the sun’s image centred on the paper was very difficult. The first problem was that the form of telescope he used projected an inverted image. In following the motion of the Sun, therefore, one has to turn the telescope in the direction contrary to the motion of the solar image … Scheiner had studied Kepler’s Dioptrice (1611), and he knew that there was more than one combination of lenses to achieve the telescopic effect. Replacing the concave ocular with a convex one would produce an inverted direct image but an erect projected image, making manipulation of the telescope much easier … Since this combination of lenses presents an inverted image if one looks through it, one would expect that for terrestrial purposes it would be useless, and neutral, at best, for astronomical purposes. But when Scheiner looked through the combination, he found something unexpected:

‘If you fit two like [convex] lenses in a tube … and apply your eye to it in the proper way, you will see any terrestrial object whatever in an inverted position but with an incredible magnitude, clarity and width. But also you will compel any stars you wish you submit to your sight; for since they are all round, the inversion of the position of the total view is not confusing to the visual configuration’ [fol. 130r].

“The astronomical telescope, as an instrument with a convex ocular is called, has a much larger field of view and brighter image than the Galilean form of the instrument. The replacement of the Galilean telescope by the astronomical telescope can, in fact, be dated from the publication of Rosa Ursina in 1630 …

“Besides using a telescope with a convex ocular for projection, Scheiner also provided the entire apparatus with a convenient mounting [p. 77]. The main axis of the mounting is made parallel to the axis of rotation of the Earth, so that an object in the sky can be followed merely by turning the telescope around this axis. This means that on the pre-drawn circle on which the image of the Sun is projected, the Sun’s path (the ecliptic) is always represented by a horizontal line. Scheiner systematically taught his students and associates to draw the perpendicular to this horizontal line, in order not to make errors in the complicated motions of the spots [pp. 158-9].

“But other duties increasingly occupied Scheiner, and it was not until he had settled in Rome in 1624 that he could return to sunspots. Obtaining the observations that he and others had made in the German region was complicated by the campaign of the Thirty Years’ War, and many of those which he did manage to procure from various observers were useless because no perpendicular had been marked. His student Georg Schönberger (1596-1645) did, however, send observations with the perpendicular line, and Scheiner was able to use them to demonstrate the curved motions of the spots …

“In Rome Scheiner made a large number of excellent observations of sunspots, using this time an equatorial mounting for his projection apparatus [p. 349], designed by his colleague Christoph Grienberger (1561-1636) and, in 1626, began the publication process. The central argument of the Rosa Ursina was the demonstration that Galileo had erred on the path of the spots and had concluded that the Sun’s axis of rotation was perpendicular to the ecliptic in his letters on sunspots on 1612-1613. Scheiner determined that this axis is, in fact, inclined to that perpendicular by 7° 15′. Scheiner was especially eager to keep that information from Galileo before unveiling it in Rosa Ursina … The printing of Rosa Ursina began in 1626 and was finished in 1630. It was a magisterial work that was to remain the definitive study of sunspots for over a century …

“Galileo and his associates were certainly aware of Scheiner’s presence in Rome in these years, and they commented occasionally on both his forthcoming work on the sunspots and on his relationship with the powerful Archduke Leopold and with Cardinal Francesco Barberini, nephew to Pope Urban VIII … In early 1626 Francesco Stelluti related that Scheiner was printing his sunspot observations, and that he had asked if it was true that Galileo was engaged in publishing a treatise called ‘On the tides.’ Scheiner appeared tolerably well informed, for this was in fact the subject of the eventual Fourth Day of the Dialogue, the original title of the work, and a question that Galileo had been investigating for its evidence of a Copernican world system about a year earlier. The Jesuit astronomer evidently added that he was eager to see such a work, and that he concurred with Galileo’s opinion about the world system.

“It is certain that the exchanges in 1625-1626 between Scheiner and Galileo’s friends in Rome were guarded and less than candid, as if both sides correctly sensed that the much anticipated works of the two rivals would involve open conflict. Over the next few years Galileo’s friends urged him repeatedly to finish his Dialogue, and in early 1629 Castelli, writing from Rome, told him ‘soon we will have a big new book on sunspots from the masked Apelles. We shall see.’ A month later Castelli promised to send a copy to Florence as soon as it became available, and as if to inspire Galileo to devote himself particularly to the issue of solar phenomena. He also reported on the timely return of a vast sunspot that had passed from view fifteen days earlier. Galileo, for his part, insisted upon his low expectations of his rival’s work, telling another friend that spring that he was certain that wherever the Rosa Ursina diverged from what had earlier been established in the History and Demonstrations, Scheiner would simply be offering ‘nonsense and lies’.

“The enormous work emerged a year later, in the spring of 1630; Juan de Alvarado S.J. of the Collegio Romano noted on 28 May 1630 that the Rosa Ursina had been licensed by Father Niccolo Riccardi, master of the Holy Palace. Galileo was by then in Rome seeking permission for his recently completed Dialogue … The imprimatur was granted in mid-September 1630.

“Though Galileo heard in mid-April 1631 that Scheiner referred to his letters on sunspots with great frequency and hostility in the Rosa Ursina, he claimed not to have seen the treatise until the fall or winter of that year, when he expressed his displeasure to Paolo Giordano [II] Orsini (1591-1656), duke of Bracciano, who now regretted, both for fiscal and for personal reasons, having agreed to finance the expensive publication …

“Scheiner had very accurately determined the solar axis of rotation. Accounting for this phenomenon by means of a geocentric construction was a straightforward astronomical exercise of the kind technical astronomers had done at least since Ptolemy. To the standard solar description of the Sun’s diurnal and annual motions, Scheiner added a construction to make the Sun rotate in about a month on an axis that pointed to a place in the fixed stars 7° 15′ removed from the pole of the ecliptic. To keep this axis always pointing to the same spot (i.e., to keep it parallel to itself), Scheiner added a conical construction [shown on p. 565]. All of Scheiner’s aims had been achieved: he had shown Galileo to be wrong about the motion of sunspots, had demonstrated the correct movement, and had supplied a mathematical model to account for that motion” (On Sunspots, pp. 311-323).

Scheiner’s pleasure at the publication of his greatest work was to be short lived. If it seemed to some that Galileo was the target of the Rosa Ursina, Scheiner felt that he was likewise the victim of the Dialogo when it emerged in the spring of 1632. In the First Day, a discussion of sunspots formed part of Galileo’s arguments against the perfection of the heavens. Salviati asked, ‘But you, Simplicio, what have you thought of to reply to the objections based on these annoying spots which have come to mess up the heavens and even more so the Peripatetic philosophy?’ Simplicio answered with Scheiner’s original argument, that sunspots were dark bodies orbiting the Sun, and continued sarcastically, ‘this seems to me to be the most convenient escape found so far to account for such a phenomenon and at the same time retain the indestructibility and ingenerability of the heavens; and, if this were not sufficient, there will be no lack of loftier intellects who will find better explanations.’ But worse was to come. In the Third Day, Galileo recounted his discovery of sunspots, his initial supposition that the Sun turned on an axis of rotation perpendicular to the ecliptic, and his eventual, but still timely, conclusion to the contrary. Salviati recalled, in the only passages in the Dialogo that purport to contain direct quotations from his friend Galileo, that having observed a large and solitary sunspot, they noted that its passage was not exactly in a straight line, and that Galileo had then put forward the explanation that the axis around which the Sun revolves is not perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic, but somewhat inclined to it.

There are several reasons to doubt this account. Salviati died in 1614, so the observations he describes would have to have been made before that time, and there is no evidence in Galileo’s papers to support his claim. Moreover, upon receiving his copy of the Dialogo, Castelli wrote to Galileo: ‘When I got to that false attestation of the sunspots, I was beside myself with happiness in seeing how much light these dark marks shed on the matter.’ But if Galileo had made this discovery in 1613 or earlier, when Castelli was working very closely with him and had developed their method of projecting sunspots, he would surely have known about it and would not have expressed himself in this way on receiving Galileo’s work. Although it is not certain, it certainly seems probable that Galileo’s knowledge of the annual paths of sunspots derives from the Rosa Ursina, and that his focus on this issue on Day Three of the Dialogo reflects changes made to his text after the imprimatur had been granted (see On Sunspots, pp. 325-7).

Rosa Ursina contains four books. In Book I, Scheiner discusses the question of priority in regard to the discovery sunspots. Book II not only describes telescopes, different kinds of projection and the helioscope, but also compares the optics of the telescope to the physiological optics of the eye. In Book III, Scheiner presents a comprehensive collection of the data from his observation of the sunspots. Book IV consists of two parts: the first part deals once again with solar phenomena like sunspots and faculae, the Sun’s rotation period of 27 days and the inclination of its axis of rotation; in the second part, Scheiner mentions numerous passages and quotations from the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers and philosophers to prove that his geocentric view is in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The last few pages of the main text comprise the first printing of Prince Federico Cesi’s important letter of 1618 to Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, ‘De caeli unitate, tenuitate, fusaque & pervia stellarum motibus natura’ (pp. [775]-782) with Bellarmine’s reply (pp. 783-784). In his letter Cesi (1585-1630), head of the Roman Accademia dei Lincei and ally of Galileo, defended the concepts of a ‘fluid’ and ‘elemental’ cosmos; he may even have written this work as part of a plan to resuscitate the Copernican cause after the Condemnation of 1616. What is equally significant is that Cardinal Bellarmine (1542-1621), who was by no means sympathetic to Copernicanism, accepted Cesi’s theses with equanimity and responded that these positions were most certainly true.

The quality of the illustrations in the Rosa Ursina is exceptional. The engraved plate on the title is a play on the caption ‘Rosa Ursina / Ursa Rosina’, featuring a rose-festooned bower-cave with three bears, one with a telescope which is projecting an image of the sun onto a board. “The frontispiece of this volume is an elaborate allegory on epistemology and the sources of truth. At the top, two beams of light stream out from the Godhead, and they are labelled Sacred Authority and Reason. Both derive their certainty from God. Below, two more beams emanate from the Sun, and they illuminate Profane Authority and Sense. Note that Sense is represented by a view through the telescope of the spots on the sun. Note also that the telescopic sunspots are fuzzy and imprecise. If we return to Reason at top right, we see that Reason too is represented by a view of the Sun, but this time the spots are sharp and clear. It is Reason, Scheiner seems to be saying, that allows us to make ‘sense’ of our senses; Sense alone is never enough to establish anything with certainty. This frontispiece beautifully captures the divide that separated Galilean science and Jesuit science” (Ashworth, The main anti-Copernican element of Scheiner’s frontispiece is its rendering of the Rose of the Orsini, Rosa Ursina, which formed part of the Orsini family’s coat of arms. Scheiner had dedicated his work to the Orsini family. The spotted Sun, depicted by the rose of the Orsini, can be seen in the very centre of the frontispiece, moving on the zodiac, thereby refuting the idea of heliocentricity. The portrait of Orsini (looking rather ursine) is surrounded by a garland of roses interspersed with maculate suns. Another plate, which serves as a frontispiece to Book III, shows Jesuit astronomers at work with telescopes, before which is a depiction of a darkened room in which an image of the Sun is being projected from a telescope, with one astronomer taking measurements and another transferring them onto paper, certainly a representation of how the sunspot illustrations in the book itself were made. It is signed by the engraver Daniel Widman.

“Scheiner attended the Jesuit Latin school at Augsburg and the Jesuit College at Landsberg before he joined the Society of Jesus in 1595. In 1600 he was sent to Ingolstadt, where he studied philosophy and, especially, mathematics under Johann Lanz. From 1603 to 1605 he spent his “magisterium”, or period of training as a teacher, at Dillingen, where he taught humanities in the Gymnasium and mathematics in the neighbouring academy. During this period he invented the pantograph, an instrument for copying plans on any scale; and his results were published several years later in the Pantographice, seu ars delineandi (1631). He returned to Ingolstadt to study theology, and after completing his second novitiate or ‘third year’ at Edersberg, he was appointed professor of Hebrew and mathematics at Ingolstadt in 1610 … From 1633 to 1639 Scheiner lived in Vienna and then in Neisse, where he was active in pastoral work until his death in 1650” (DSB).

The collations given for this work vary because of the peculiar mixture of pagination and foliation. But this copy is complete. After page 125 [-126] the book is foliated 126-149 (the latter being P6), followed by 12 leaves (gatherings Q-R6, all but R6 (which is blank) foliated 149); pagination recommences with aa2 (aa1, beginning Liber tertius, is unpaginated) which is paginated 149. Furthermore, pages 511-522 are mispaginated 459-470.

Backer-Sommervogel VII, 738 8; Carli & Favaro 116; Cinti 79; Grässe VI, 298; Parkinson p. 74; Jesuit Science in the Age of Galileo 6; Rowland 19. Galilei & Scheiner (Reeves & Van Helden, tr.), On Sunspots, 2010. On the Cesi-Bellarmine correspondence, see: Galluzzi, The Lynx and the Telescope (2017), Ch. 7.

Folio (405 x 260mm), pp. [xl, including frontispiece], 1-66, [2, blank], [67]-125, [126]; ff. 126-149, [12, including blank R6]; pp. [2, unpaginated opening leaf of Liber tertius], 149-784, [2, blank], [36, index and errata], with engraved frontispiece, engraved plate on title, engraved portrait of Orsini, and 172 engraved plates folded in (some light browning). Contemporary vellum with manuscript title on spine, manuscript paper labels over top and bottom spine compartments with letters ‘L V” and “M O’, the latter enclosed in a manuscript cartouche which bears some resemblance to the Orsini coat of arms. A fine copy, with the deckle showing on several lower edges.

Item #5198

Price: $145,000.00

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