GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Dialogo... sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo Tolemaico, e Copernicano. Florence: Gian Battista Landini, 1632.
4° (221 x 159mm). Errata leaf Ff6, printed correction over-slip in the margin of F6v as usual. Engraved frontispiece by Stefano della Bella in the usual state with the artist's signature present, 31 woodcut illustrations and diagrams. (Without the final blank, a very few small repairs, light scattered spotting, occasional browning, occasional dampstain in lower margin.) 19th-century blue quarter-leather and pebble-grain cloth, spine lettered and numbered in gilt, sprinkled edges (extremities lightly rubbed, spine sunned).
FIRST EDITION OF A LANDMARK OF SCIENCE: THE SUMMATION OF GALILEO'S IDEAS, AND HIS CELEBRATED DEFENCE OF THE COPERNICAN VIEW OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. After years of being forbidden to teach the Copernican theory, Galileo was given the opportunity to express these views by the new Pope, Urban VIII, his friend, admirer and patron for more than a decade. Urban granted Galileo permission to write a book about theories of the universe, 'provided that the arguments for the Ptolemaic view were given an equal and impartial discussion' (DSB). Galileo's formal use of the dialogue, casting the work as a hypothetical discussion, allowed him fully to explore the Copernican model within Urban's parameters. The work 'is a masterly polemic for the new science. It displays all the great discoveries in the heavens which the ancients had ignored; it inveighs against the sterility, wilfulness, and ignorance of those who defend their systems; it revels in the simplicity of Copernican thought and, above all, it teaches that the movement of the earth makes sense in philosophy, that is, in physics... The Dialogo, more than any other work, made the heliocentric system a commonplace' (PMM). In casting the Pope as the simple-minded Aristotelian Simplicius, Galileo brought upon himself arrest, trial by the Inquisition and life imprisonment. The sentence was commuted to permanent house arrest, but the printing of any of his works was forbidden. The Dialogo remained on the Index until 1832. Carli and Favaro, p.28; Cinti 89; Heralds of Science 8; Grolier/Horblit 18c; Norman 858; PMM 128; Wellcome 2647a.