for the retarding hand of superstition and bigotry, the dawning day might have rapidly advanced.
As it was, Copernic, fearful perhaps of the fate of Roger Bacon, taught in private a few select pupils, and only on his death bed did he see his printed work (1543). Copernic's sudden death was all that saved him from the hands of his enemies. As it was, his book was soon proscribed and his theory placed under the ban of the church.
With the printing of Copernic's work the battle between the geocentric and helio-centric hypotheses may be said to have been fairly joined. Copernic himself foresaw the coming conflict. He also saw
that the real conflict would be, not with astronomers, but with churchmen. In the dedication of his book he says:
Sir Oliver Lodge, in summing up the life-work of this pioneer of science, says: