The Works of Galileo

Starry Messenger (1610)

Medicean stars

Then Galileo had another idea: the satellites of Jupiter were his ticket to return to Tuscany. He hastily printed a new name to paste over the name already appearing on the previously printed pages (Figure 1) , in order to dedicate the work to Cosimo, and call them the Medicean stars. Jupiter stood for the Grand Duke, and the four satellites stood for the Grand Duke’s four sons. What could be better, other than the fact that the eldest son, Cosimo, had just become the next Grand Duke?

In the dedication, Galileo noted that Jupiter appeared in a royal position at Cosimo’s birth, and waxed eloquent in courtly praise:

Serenissimo Grand Duke, "scarcely have the immortal graces of your soul begun to shine forth on earth than bright stars offer themselves in the heavens, which, like tongues [longer lived than poets] will speak of and celebrate your most excellent virtues for all time."

(Figure 2)

No wonder the King of Spain, the Holy Roman Emperor, the French ambassador to Italy and others invited Galileo to join their courts.

Figure 1 Figure 1 - Return to Text

Galileo, 1610. Medicean stars paste-over.

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Figure 2 Figure 2 - Return to Text

Galileo, 1610. Dedication.

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Exhibit credit: Kerry Magruder, with the assistance of , Marilyn B. Ogilvie, Duane H. D. Roller.

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These teaching resources provided by the History of Science Department at the University of Oklahoma.

Unless otherwise indicated, all images courtesy History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries. Image Terms of Use.

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