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Tycho Brahe: a picture of scientific life and work in the sixteenth century/Chapter 9

< Tycho Brahe: a picture of scientific life and work in the sixteenth century



At the death of King Frederick II., in 1588, his eldest son, Prince Christian, who had been elected his successor, was only eleven years of age. The Queen claimed the right of governing the country during his minority, and asked the Privy Council if she had not in her husband's lifetime shown her love to the two kingdoms, and whether they could show cause why she should have forfeited the right of Dowager-Queens. But the powerful nobles were determined to take the reins into their own hands, and elected four Protectors from among the Privy Councillors—the Chancellor, Niels Kaas; the Chief of the Exchequer, Christopher Valkendorf; the Admiral Peder Munk; and the Governor of Jutland, Jörgen Rosenkrands. In order to keep their power as long as possible, it was decided that the minority should last till the Prince was twenty years of age. The quiet and careful education of the young King- Elect, which his father had planned, was continued, and the Government of the Protectors was on the whole well and ably conducted. To Tycho Brahe it was of great importance that the Chancellor Kaas was a member of the Government, as the precarious tenure by which he held all his endowments and pensions made it a vital matter for him to have firm friends among those at the head of affairs. Probably with a view to ascertain how far the new Government was friendly to him, Tycho in the spring of 1588 addressed a memorial to the young King in which he showed that he not only had spent his various pensions and the income from his hereditary estate on his buildings and works at Hveen, but had incurred a debt of 6000 Daler (£1360), and he begged that the King would indemnify him for this loss, as he had spent the money according to the desire of the late King and for the honour of the country. On the 8th July, Kaas and Rosenkrands paid Tycho a visit at Hveen, and probably by their advice the young King, on the 12th July, with the sanction of the Privy Council, granted the said sum of 6000 Daler to Tycho, 2000 to be paid by the Treasury and 4000 from the Crown revenue of the former Dueholm monastery in Jutland. The money was paid on the 14th December following, 2000 from the Sound dues and 4000 from Dueholm.[1] In addition to this proof of the continued favour of the Government, the Protectors on the 23rd August issued a declaration promising to keep the buildings at Hveen in repair at the public expense, and on the expiration of the King's minority to advise him to fix a certain annual endowment for the continuance of the astronomical work there by some fit person of Tycho's own family, or, failing such, by some suitable person of Danish nobility or by some other native.[2] In the following year, on the 17th July 1589, a new declaration to the same effect and very much in the same words was drawn up and signed and sealed, not only by the four Protectors, but by all the members of the Council, fourteen in number.[3]

Though these declarations were very reassuring to Tycho, he seems to have thought that the young King might possibly in future years not consider himself bound by them, for in March 1590 he procured a letter from the Queen stating that she perfectly remembered to have heard King Frederick, some time before his death, express his intention of appointing one of Tycho's children to succeed him at Hveen, if one should be found skilful in the astronomical art.[4] Tycho does not appear to have made any use of this letter in after years, perhaps because neither of his two sons showed any taste for astronomy.

For the present, at any rate, Tycho's position was secured by the new Government, and we have already seen that the grant of the Norwegian estate was renewed in June 1589. In this year he received another mark of the friendly feelings of the Government, as a letter from the young king to the burgomasters and Corporation of Copenhagen (dated Copenhagen the 13th March 1589) ordered them to lend Tycho Brahe a stone tower next the rampart, "and a small piece of the rampart up to his paling," as he intended to erect a building on the tower for astronomical use, where he wanted to keep some instruments for the use of some people who might reside there and practise with them. He was, however, to give up the tower and rampart whenever they might be required for the defence of the city.[5] This part of the rampart was doubtless close to a house which he is known to have owned in the Farvergade, in the south-west part of Copenhagen, perhaps at the corner where the street (until a few years ago) adjoined the rampart, as the latter is said to "reach to his paling." On the 25th of March following the king furthermore gave to Tycho and his heirs for ever two empty houses next his own, on condition that he should build another house for the dyer who had carried on business in one of those which Tycho got.[6] Though he frequently went to Copenhagen (as may be seen by the Meteorological Diary), nothing is known about his domestic arrangements there, nor do we know whether he really kept students or pupils. No observations were made at Copenhagen.

At Hveen the life and work continued as in previous years, and Tycho was still honoured and fêted by both compatriots and foreigners. Among his nearer friends, Vedel and Erik Lange paid him occasional visits, and early in 1590 the latter became engaged to Tycho's youngest sister, Sophia, who was a very frequent guest at Uraniborg, and who after Steen Bille's death (1586) was the only one of Tycho's relations who was capable of appreciating the work carried on there.[7] At the age of nineteen or twenty she had been married to Otto Thott of Eriksholm, in Scania, who died in 1588, leaving an only child, Tage Thott, during whose minority the young widow managed the property of Eriksholm. Here she devoted her leisure hours partly to horticulture (in which she must have excelled, since Rothmann, who paid her a visit during his stay in Denmark, thought her garden worthy of special praise to the Landgrave), partly to chemistry and medicine (which latter she made use of to relieve the poor), and especially to judicial astrology, to which she was greatly devoted, so that she is said to have always carried a book about with her in which the horoscopes of her friends were entered. She had several times met Erik Lange at Uraniborg, where he probably came to consult Tycho on matters relating to alchemy, on which pursuit he squandered his fortune. The match was not a brilliant one for her, though Lange was her equal as regards birth, but in searching for the philosopher's stone he had become greatly indebted, and in order to escape his creditors he left the country in 1591, hoping perhaps abroad to be more successful in the gold-making line than he had been at home. It is needless to say that he met with new disappointments, and Sophia and he were not united till 1602, six months after Tycho's death.[8]

Sophia Brahe and her future husband were not the only guests at Uraniborg in the spring of 1590, at which time Tycho received his most distinguished visitor, King James VI. of Scotland. This monarch had several years before made overtures for the hand of Princess Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Frederick II. His envoy, Peter Young, had, however, produced powers so limited, or had conducted the negotiations in so lukewarm a manner (it is supposed at the instigation of Queen Elizabeth), that the Danish king did not believe the wooer to be in earnest, and promised his eldest daughter to the Duke of Brunswick. Not discouraged by this failure, and yielding to the loudly expressed wish of the Scotch nation to see the king married soon, James solicited the hand of King Frederick's second daughter, Anne. The Earl Marshal, Lord Keith, was sent to Denmark in 1589, and the marriage was celebrated at Kronborg Castle by procuration. The bride set out for Scotland in September, escorted by a Danish fleet of fourteen vessels, but a storm obliged the fleet to seek shelter at Oslo in Norway, and James was informed that it was not likely to put to sea again for some months. Vexed at this new disappointment, he quickly made up his mind (not a very usual thing for him to do, but he was probably anxious to have the vexed question of the Orkney and Shetland Isles settled as soon as possible), and having, without communicating his intention to his Council, fitted out some ships, he started for Norway attended by the Chancellor, Sir John Maitland, and a numerous suite. He arrived at Oslo in November, and the marriage was solemnised at Aggershus Castle on the 24th of that month by his own chaplain, David Lyndsay. The timid monarch did not care to face the boisterous North Sea a second time in winter, and remained in Norway for some time, until he accepted the invitation of the Danish Government and set sail for Kronborg, where he arrived with his bride on the 20th January 1590. A month after he went to Copenhagen, where the usual festivities were held in his honour; but James did not neglect the opportunity of enjoying the conversation of learned men, and even went to see the theologian Hemmingsen at Roskilde. It is natural that he should wish to see the spot to which the eyes of all the learned men of Europe were directed, and on the 2oth March he paid a visit to Tycho Brahe at Hveen, arriving at eight o'clock in the morning and remaining till three p.m.[9] King James was particularly pleased to see in the library at Uraniborg the portrait of his former tutor, George Buchanan, which had been presented to Tycho by Peter Young, who had once taught James to spell, and had afterwards several times been sent to Denmark on various missions.[10] The learned king and the astronomer had thus more than one interest in common, and it is easy to imagine the delight the former must have felt while conversing with his host. To show how gratified he was with his reception, he wrote at Uraniborg (whether it was in a "visitors' book" does not appear):

Est nobilis ira Leonis
Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos.
Jacobus Rex.[11]

Why he wrote these particular lines is not easy to understand, but perhaps he considered them emblematic of "kingcraft."[12] Maitland also tried his hand at Latin verse- making, expressing his admiration of the house of the Muses. The king is said to have discussed the Copernican system and other matters with Tycho, and was doubtless equally proud of his own exhibition of learning and pleased with the hospitable reception he had met with. He readily promised Tycho copyright in Scotland for his writings for thirty years, and sent him this three years later, expressing in the document the pleasure it had given him to converse with Tycho and learn with his own eyes and ears things which still delighted his mind. Two Latin epigrams accompanied the document and are printed with it at the beginning of Tycho's Progymnasmata.[13] King James is also said to have presented Tycho with two fine English mastiffs before his departure. Various members of his suite paid visits to Hveen during the time between the king's visit and his final departure from Denmark, which took place on the 21st April.[14]

Two days before his departure King James had at Kronborg assisted at the nuptials of the lady he had first wooed with Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Of course the Duke had also to be taken over to Hveen to see the wonders there, which he and his suite did on the 4th May; but this visit does not appear to have been as pleasant to Tycho as that of King James. The Duke took a fancy to the little revolving statue of Mercury which stood on the roof of the central room of Stjerneborg, and thought it would be a pretty toy to take home with him. Tycho had to give him permission to take it away with him, when the Duke had promised to send him an exact copy of it, which promise he never took the trouble to fulfil, though Tycho sent him several reminders.[15] Gassendi tells a curious incident of this visit, which he had heard from Janszoon Blaev. At table the Duke remarked that it was getting late and he would have to take his leave, but Tycho, who perhaps was still annoyed at the loss of the statue, said in a joking way that it was his right to give the signal for breaking up. The Duke took offence at this and walked off towards the shore without taking leave, and when Tycho, who had first remained at table, after a little while followed him and offered him a stirrup-cup, the Duke turned away and continued his walk. Upon which Tycho let him go, and returned home without troubling himself more about his guest.[16] This may be only gossip, but Tycho was certainly haughty and self-sufficient enough to have behaved in this manner even to the king's brother-in-law, and he probably made himself more than one powerful enemy by his overbearing manner.

A more welcome visitor arrived three months after this event in the person of the Landgrave's astronomer, Christopher Rothmann, who came to Hveen on the 1st August and stayed with Tycho till the 1st September. He seems to have been a somewhat peculiar character, and to have taken a rather unfair advantage of the great modesty and retiring disposition of his colleague, Bürgi, to push himself into the foreground, if not actually to try to shine with borrowed plumes.[17] In a letter of which he was the bearer, the Landgrave wrote that Rothmann had been in bad health for some time, and imagined that a little travelling and change of air would do him good. "But he has a head of his own, for which he every year buys a hat of his own, so we must leave him to himself; but we should be sorry if anything happened to him, for he is ingenious and a fine, learned fellow."[18] Tycho and he had now been in regular correspondence for about four years, and had in their letters entered very fully into the methods of observing used at Hveen and at Cassel, and the advantages or difficulties of the Copernican system. They had discussed the frequently observed "chasmata" or auroræ (which Tycho took to be sulphurous exhalations ignited in the air, and not clouds illuminated by the sun, as the latter was too far below the horizon in winter[19]); they had exchanged ideas about the celestial space, which Tycho did not believe to be filled with air, as this would produce a sound when the planets moved through it (which Rothmann denied); about the amount of refraction and the duration of twilight, for which Rothmann assumed a depression of the sun equal to 24°, while Tycho found 16° to 17°,[20] and on any other subject which their work might suggest. Rothmann had prepared for. publication several treatises, none of which have ever been printed, among which was one on trigonometry, which he had thought of dedicating to King Frederick II., one on the Copernican system, which he suppressed when he saw how badly the Prutenic tables agreed with the observations,[21] and a treatise on spherical and practical astronomy, which is still preserved in MS. at Cassel.[22]

Tycho and his guest must have had plenty of subjects for conversation, and the host no doubt did his best to entertain the man with whom he had for years exchanged ideas, though they had never yet met. It appears from the diary that several foreign visitors came and went during Rothmann's stay at Hveen, and these as well as the above-mentioned trip to Scania to see Sophia Brahe and her garden lent variety to the visit. There were even some fine auroræ to be looked at and discussed. The many interesting objects to be seen at Hveen, and the scenery, so charming in summer-time, ought to have made Rothmann's stay at Uraniborg very pleasant; but unluckily Tycho seems to have belaboured him with arguments against the Copernican system which must have become somewhat tiresome in the end. In a lengthy note which Tycho has inserted among his printed letters,[23] he states that, during the weeks he had Rothmann with him he pleaded his cause with this generally very obstinate man so well, that Rothmann began to waver, and finally declared himself convinced, and assured Tycho that he had only held to his opinion for the sake of argument; he even added that he had not published, and never would publish, anything in that direction. Doubtless Rothmann was glad to end a dispute which could lead to nothing, and both these skilful observers knew well that there was a great deal of work to be done yet ere the true system of the world could be indisputably proved. In the note already alluded to Tycho sets forth the arguments which he had made use of. These refer only to the rotation of the earth, as he thought the two other motions would be untenable when that was disproved. He maintains that though the thin and subtle air might follow the rotatory motion, a heavy falling body would not, and if two projectiles were shot out with equal force, one towards the east and the other towards the west, he was sure they would go equally far, and thus prove that the earth was stationary. The enormous velocity with which the eighth sphere revolves in twenty-four hours he considers a proof of the wisdom and power of God; and as motion is more noble than rest, it is natural that the æthereal world should be in motion and the lower and coarser earth at rest, and this idea he dwells on at some length.

Rothmann left Tycho on the 1st September 1590, ostensibly to return to Cassel; but whatever the reason may have been, he went instead to his native place, Bernburg in Anhalt. After a long silence he wrote once more to Tycho in September 1594, but his letter was only a short one, complaining greatly of his health and inquiring why Tycho's book on the comet of 1577 had not yet been published. Tycho wrote him in January 1595 a very long answer, which is almost entirely taken up by a defence of his book on the comet against the attack made on it by John Craig, formerly Professor of Logic and Mathematics at Frankfurt on the Oder, and now Physician to the King of Scotland.[24] Craig had in 1588, through the intercession of a countryman (no doubt Liddel), obtained a copy of the book, and had written to Tycho trying to disprove the conclusion at which the latter had arrived, that the comet was far beyond the moon. Tycho had in reply taken the trouble to prepare a detailed "apology" for his book, and had sent it to Craig in 1589, and three years later the latter published a refutation of Tycho's book, in which he ("nee tarn scotice quam scoptice") made a violent attack on all who would not follow Aristotle's doctrine about comets.[25] In this last letter to Rothmann, Tycho, in a needlessly prolix manner, defends his observations and results against this obscure writer, who, but for his attack on Tycho, would be quite unknown in the annals of science.[26]

Rothmann never returned to Cassel, and nothing further is known of him. He was still alive in 1599, when Tycho heard from him through a mutual acquaintance, and he must have died before 1608, when a theological pamphlet by him was published, which is designated as posthumous.[27] At Cassel, where the astronomical work was carried on by Bürgi, his continued absence created much surprise, and the Landgrave and Tycho, in the letters which they frequently exchanged in 1591, repeatedly expressed their wonder at his disappearance. These letters are not like the earlier ones, almost entirely devoted to astronomy, though Tycho did not omit to tell the Landgrave that the printing of the first volume of his work was approaching completion, and that he had shown Rothmann as much as was in type; it was partly want of paper which delayed the finishing of the book. The Landgrave offered to inquire at Frankfurt whether there might be one or two papermakers there who might be willing to go to Hveen, but Tycho wrote back that he had already got one.[28] In February 1591 the Landgrave wrote that he had heard of an animal from Norway, taller than a stag, of which there were some at Copenhagen and in the royal deer park at Frederiksborg, and he would like a drawing of it. Tycho answered that he did not know of any such animal, but some time ago a reindeer had been sent to Copenhagen from Norway, but had died during the summer; he sent, however, a drawing of it. The Landgrave again wrote that he had also twice got a number of reindeer from Sweden, and they seemed to thrive well in winter, and could draw a sledge on the ice, but they died as soon as warm weather came on. In his deer-park at Zapfenburg, the Landgrave had an elk since the previous autumn, and it skipped about well, and when he came driving in his little green carriage, the elk would run alongside like a dog. If Tycho could send him one or two tame ones, he would be very pleased. This Tycho promised to do, and added that he had himself had an elk on his estate in Scania, and had wanted to get it over to Hveen. In the first instance the animal had been sent to Landskrona Castle, where Tycho's niece's husband kept it for some days, until unluckily the elk one day walked up the stairs into a room, where it drank so much strong beer, that it lost its footing when going down the stairs again and broke its leg, and died in consequence. Tycho never succeeded in getting an elk for the Landgrave, nor in satisfying his curiosity concerning the gigantic animal called Orix, about which the Landgrave had first inquired.[29]

Among other matters, the Landgrave inquired about the state of affairs in Denmark, and Tycho gave him the required information in detail, telling him that the young king-elect was being carefully educated, and that there was every prospect of his walking in his father's footsteps; that among the four protectors, the one of greatest influence was the Chancellor Kaas, a man conspicuous not only by his illustrious descent, but also by his experience, judgment, and prudence, while he was also a very well-read man, particularly in historical and political matters. If anything of special importance occurred, it was referred to the annual assembly of nobles. The form of government was thus an aristocratic one (which was not a bad one), until the king- elect should attain his majority.[30] In return, the Landgrave sent Tycho some abstracts from newspapers about the state of France, and gave it as his opinion (in the curious mixture of German and Latin in which he always wrote), "dass es misserimus status totius Europæ ist."[31]

As Rothmann did not return to Cassel, and the Landgrave, therefore, did not see the drawings and descriptions of the instruments at Hveen which he had collected during his stay there, Tycho caused his German amanuensis to prepare a description of all the instruments, twenty-eight in number, which was sent to the Landgrave, and afterwards was inserted in the printed volume of letters, together with a Latin translation, which is somewhat longer, and furnished with woodcuts of the buildings and a map of the island, as well as with copies of the versified inscriptions on various portraits in Tycho's collection. Tycho was still anxious to have good mechanics in his service, and wrote to the Landgrave in February 1592 that his goldsmith, Hans Crol, was dead,[32] who had had charge of his instruments for many years, and had made several of them. He therefore inquired if Bürgi knew of an able man who might succeed him. It so happened that Bürgi shortly afterwards had to go to Prague to present to the Emperor a mechanical representation of the motions of the planets, and the Landgrave promised that he should inquire about some goldsmith who was accustomed to instruments and clocks. Whether Tycho got such a man is not known.[33]

The Landgrave died at Cassel on the 25th August 1592, at the age of sixty. His son and successor, Maurice, did not share his father's taste for astronomy (though he continued to keep Bürgi in his service till 1603, when Bürgi removed to Prague), but he was a man of literary tastes, and at Tycho's request sent him a Latin poem for insertion in one of his publications, though he modestly disclaimed the poetical talent which had been attributed to him.[34]

Before Tycho lost his diligent correspondents at Cassel he had opened a literary intercourse with Giovanni Antonio Magini, from 1588 Professor of Mathematics at Bologna, a man who by his extensive correspondence and his literary activity gained a position of some importance in the history of science.[35] We have already mentioned that Tycho's pupil, Gellius Sascerides, during his stay at Padua, sent Magini a copy of the volume on the comet of 1577, and in 1590 Magini wrote to Tycho thanking him for the welcome present, and expressing his approval of the new system of the world. In this he could only have wished that the orbits of Mars and the sun had not intersected each other, though this would be admissible if (as Gellius had told him) Tycho had found Mars in opposition to be nearer than the sun. He begged Tycho particularly to observe Mars, as he suspected its excentricity to be variable and periodical, so that an equation to this effect should be introduced in the theory.[36] In reply, Tycho remarked that he had found this well-known difficulty not only in the theory of Mars, but in a lesser degree also in the theories of the other planets, and he wanted to observe the oppositions of Mars all round the zodiac. He also gave a short account of the reasons why he found it necessary to devise a new system. He would have sent Magini a copy of his star-catalogue, but the distance was so great, and the difficulties of transit so considerable, that it might fall into wrong hands and somebody might publish it as his own.[37] In conclusion, Tycho remarks that he had read in Magini's Tabulæ Secundi Mobilis that geographical latitudes, since the days of Ptolemy, had increased more than a degree, but he does not believe it, as the latitude of Rome, according to Pliny, was 41° 54', while Regiomontanus found 42° 7' and 42° 0'; likewise Pliny says that at Venice the gnomon and its shadow were of equal length at the time of equinox, which gives the latitude 45° 16', agreeing to the minute with Pitati's result; also Pliny gave 44° 10' for Ancona, which was more than the modern value, 43° 20', instead of less, as had been imagined.[38]

Gellius spent about two years at Padua, where he was matriculated at the University in October 1589. In 1591 Magini had a sextant made from his description, and they observed Mars with, it together on some evenings in June and July, as Tycho had called Magini's attention to the singularly favourable opposition.[39] Magini wrote to Tycho that he was going to get a large quadrant and a radius (cross-staff) made with sights like Tycho's. He added that he could not procure for Tycho the copyright of his books in the Venetian dominions, as they had not been printed there.[40] In the following year Magini dedicated to Tycho a book on the extraction of square root, but the copy sent to Denmark never reached its destination, and Tycho did not see the book till five years later, when he came across another copy and reprinted the dedication in his Mechanica.

In 1592, the year in which Tycho wrote the concluding part of his book on the new star, an event occurred which seemed to augur well for his future. The young king-elect, then fifteen years of age, paid a visit to Hveen on the 3rd July. We possess a detailed account of the way in which this visit was brought about, through the Latin exercise-book of the Prince, in which he was in the habit of writing letters, sometimes fictitious, sometimes really ad- dressed to those about him.[41] In the beginning of April 1592 he was obliged to leave Copenhagen, where the plague had appeared, and on the way to Frederiksborg Castle he received from Tycho's friend Kaas so lively a description of Uraniborg, that he became very anxious to pay a visit to Hveen. He at once composed a Latin letter, probably addressed to his governor, in which he requested leave to proceed to Hveen, and as he met with a refusal, he appealed to the Chancellor, from whom he at once obtained the desired permission, as Kaas was only too glad to see the future king interested in Tycho and his work. Unluckily the plague had made its appearance on the island, and Tycho, who on the 29th of April had been informed of the intended visit, thought it his duty the next day to send one of his pupils over to Seeland to announce this.[42] The messenger found the Prince at the shore, just about to embark, and the youth could only console himself in his disappointment by composing a new exercise the next day, in which he expressed the hope that there might be nothing to hinder the visit in the coming month of June. The prince was evidently determined that nothing should prevent him from seeing Tycho's observatory as soon as possible, and it is much to be regretted that he did not, five years later, show an equally strong desire to keep the great astronomer in his own country, notwithstanding all the complaints brought against Tycho by his detractors. On the present occasion he got his own way. In June the Prince's governor was obliged to take his charge to the manor of Hörsholm (about fourteen miles north of Copenhagen, and only a mile and a half from the sea), and this temporary residence, which the spreading of the plague had rendered necessary, was most convenient for the visit to Hveen. When Tycho therefore arrived on the 30th of June to announce that the plague had vanished from Hveen, the Prince's governor could not find any excuse for preventing the future king from visiting the astronomer, and on the 3rd July the Prince started, attended by two of the protectors, Admiral Munk and Jörgen Rosenkrands, and his governor, Hak Ulfstand. The weather was most favourable, and the trip was no doubt thoroughly enjoyed by the Prince, whose excellent education enabled him to view with intelligent interest the many strange objects which Tycho had to show him. In particular, he admired a small brass globe, which, by an internal mechanism, showed the motions of the sun and moon. Tycho immediately begged him to accept it, and in return the Prince took off a massive gold chain in which his own portrait was suspended, and hung it round his host's neck.[43] The conversation between the astronomer and his youthful guest turned to fortification, navigation, shipbuilding, and other branches of applied science, in which the Prince had been instructed, and it is stated that Tycho on this occasion received a promise of an annual grant of 400 daler (£91) for instructing young men in the theory of navigation and astronomy, and an allowance of 120 daler annually for the keep of each pupil.[44] The Prince was greatly pleased with his visit, and seems to have regretted that it was but a short one, as he wrote in his Latin exercise the next day that he returned to Hörsholm "long before supper."

Historical events, whether trifling or important, are often by posterity, without any reason, connected with others or supposed to have caused them. Tradition afterwards made out that Christopher Valkendorf was in the Prince's suite on this occasion, and it has been related in detail how he and Tycho became enemies because Valkendorf kicked one of the dogs which King James had presented to Tycho, while the latter in turn abused the offender. But this story, which, according to other writers, refers to a later date, rests on a very slender foundation indeed, and at any rate the incident cannot have occurred on this occasion, as it is quite certain that Valkendorf did not attend the Prince on his visit to Hveen. During the summer of 1592 Tycho had a number of other visitors, among them Prince Vilhelm of Courland, a brother to the Duke.[45]

But though Tycho's position still seemed an excellent one, and he continued in the undisturbed possession of all his sources of income, he seems about this time to have become dissatisfied and annoyed by various circumstances. In the letter to the Landgrave in 1591 in which he described the state of Denmark,[46] he remarked that there were certain unpleasant obstacles which hindered him from carrying out successfully all that he had planned for the restoration of astronomy, but he hoped to get rid of these and other obstacles in some way or other, and any soil was a country to the brave, and the heavens were everywhere overhead. These last words ("omne solum forti patria est cœlum undique supra est") are very similar to some which he had used six years before in the poetical letter to Kaas, and they seem to indicate that already at this time he was not unfamiliar with the idea of seeking a home outside Denmark, if circumstances should make the stay at Hveen unpleasant to him. Among his causes of annoyance was a quarrel with one of the tenants on the estate of the Roskilde prebend, which does not place Tycho in a very favourable light, and which may, perhaps, account for the coldness shown by the governor of the Prince when the visit to Hveen was proposed. It appears that Tycho and the tenant, Rasmus Pedersen, had had some difference in the year 1590, as the latter got the mayor of Roskilde and another man to go over to Hveen on the 15th July to try and settle the matter.[47] They cannot, however, have succeeded, and Tycho wanted a decree of eviction against the tenant, but the court which tried the matter, and which was composed of four noblemen, did not grant the decree. Tycho now appealed to the king, who summoned the four nobles and the litigants to appear before the High Court of Justice in July 1591. From the judgment of the four Commissioners it appeared that the tenant had been disobedient and had refused to come to Tycho when ordered, but that Tycho, notwithstanding the lease for life which the tenant held of his farm, had let other people plough and sow the land, and in the previous October (six months before he tried to have him legally evicted) had taken the farm from him. Tycho had furthermore taken the law into his own hands by having Rasmus put in irons at his own table, from whence he was carried off to Hveen, where he was detained for six weeks or more. And as Rasmus had represented that he had feared the severity of Tycho, and did not go to him when ordered because Tycho would not give him a safeguard, the Commissioners had thought that six weeks' imprisonment was a sufficient punishment for this act of disobedience, and that Rasmus should not be evicted from the farm, of which he had only purchased the lease four years before, and on which he had built a house. Although Tycho had forbidden Rasmus to work his farm, this was not according to law, as long as the tenant had not legally forfeited his lease. As to the house on the farm, which Tycho complained had been sold by the tenant, it appeared that it was still standing in the garden, and formed part of the farm. Further Tycho alleged that a certain house had been sold and not entered on the accounts; but as Rasmus Pedersen denied all knowledge of any such matter, and Tycho had not submitted any evidence to prove his assertion, the tenant had been acquitted of this charge. He had been obliged to go over to Hveen to work for his landlord with four horses and two carts, and two of the horses had died; but the Commissioners had found that Rasmus was in no way bound to work for his landlord. Some boxes belonging to him had been sealed and carried off while he had been locked up, and these Tycho had been ordered to hand over unopened to the tenant. When asked in the Court of Appeal what objection he had to the judgment of the Commissioners, Tycho stated that he had hardly any objection to make, except that the case had been greatly delayed, and that the Commissioners had not tried the entire case, but had referred some parts of it to the local court,[48] others to the provincial court,[49] notwithstanding that the royal command had ordered them to judge in all matters between Tycho and his tenant; they had also passed over some questions, and not tried them at all. To this the Commissioners answered that the delay had merely been in having their seals affixed to the judgment; that they had been justified in referring some matters to the local court, as the case about a man who was drowned in a well was clearly a case for a jury, while other things were under the jurisdiction of the provincial court; and as to the matters which they were said to have passed over altogether, they were not aware of any such matters. The High Court of Justice concurred with the Commissioners in every respect, and ordered that their judgment should stand.[50]

It might have been expected that the humiliation of having had the judgment upheld, against which he so needlessly had appealed, would have been enough for Tycho, and that he might have left Rasmus Pedersen alone in future, but this he evidently could not persuade himself to do, although we know very little about the further progress of the case. In February 1592 Tycho had to attend the provincial court at Ringsted, in Seeland, as a Latin epigram has been preserved which he wrote on the way home, and in which he complains of unfair treatment by the judge.[51] The case tried on that occasion was probably one of those referred to the provincial court by the Commissioners. From the end of the same year a draught of a royal letter has been found (dated 17th November 1592) which shows that Tycho was still persecuting the tenant. The letter states that whereas Rasmus Pedersen has complained that he was still kept out of his farm, and that his brother and his servant had been imprisoned, and were still detained by Tycho, while he was most anxious to be left in peace, since he had built a house on the farm, and would be utterly ruined if this quarrel did not cease, the king desired that Tycho should remember the misery of the man, and act in a Christian, reasonable, and lawful manner towards him, so that the Crown would not be obliged to interfere and protect him, particularly as he was a tenant of an estate which was merely granted to Tycho during pleasure. It was therefore the royal command that this case be finally settled and arranged by the judge of the provincial court of Seeland and some other gentlemen, who were to judge in all matters which had not already been judicially decided. Tycho was therefore desired to nominate some impartial gentlemen who might be ordered to act on this commission.[52] Nothing further is known about Rasmus Pedersen and his disagreeable landlord, who seems to have acted in a remarkably high-handed manner in the whole affair. He certainly did not by this conduct improve his credit with the young king, who throughout his life wished to act justly by everybody, irrespective of rank and social position.

Another source of trouble to Tycho, for which he also had himself alone to blame, arose soon after out of his prebend at Roskilde. We have seen that the possession of this prebend brought with it the obligation to keep in good repair not only the residence attached to it, but also the "Chapel of the Holy Three Kings" in the Roskilde Cathedral. Though perfectly willing to enjoy the income of the prebend, Tycho seems altogether to have neglected to look after the state of the chapel, and in August 1591 the Government found it necessary to draw the attention of the Chapter to the want of repair of the chapel. Having been informed that Tycho was bound to see to this, a letter was written on the 30th of August to Tycho in the king's name about this matter. Tycho does not appear to have taken any notice of this reminder, and the king had to write to him again in August 1593, that he had himself been in the cathedral, and found the roof, the woodwork, and the vault in so dilapidated a state, that it was to be feared that it would all come down unless something was done before the winter. Tycho was therefore desired to repair the chapel at once, and if he did not do so, the king would have it done by a builder at Tycho's expense. But Tycho did nothing, and in consequence received in September 1594 a third reminder, in which he was informed that if the chapel was not repaired at latest before Christmas, the prebend would be conferred on somebody else. Now at last Tycho thought he had better do something, and applied for leave to take down the arched roof of the chapel and put a flat ceiling in its place, which would simplify the repairs, and this he received permission to do in November 1594; but he did not carry out his proposal, and he must have managed to repair the chapel in some other manner.[53]

Tycho's conduct in these various transactions could not but undermine his position in Denmark, and there was doubtless more than one of his fellow-nobles who took the opportunity of fanning the flame of discontent with the self-willed and highly-paid astronomer which gradually sprang up among the rulers in Denmark. Among these, Tycho had hitherto had a very powerful friend in the Chancellor, Niels Kaas, but he died in June 1594, and after his death Tycho must have felt himself less secure in the enjoyment of his several endowments. Possibly Tycho may also gradually have become tired of the continued residence on the lonely little island, from which his very frequent trips to Scania and to Copenhagen[54] cannot always have been pleasant, particularly in winter, and he may by degrees have become desirous of making a change. He had not been outside Denmark since 1575, and must have longed for the easy intercourse with learned men which he had once hoped to find at Basle, and for which the occasional visits of learned foreigners to Hveen was not a sufficient compensation. Reports must also have reached him of the great love of astronomy and alchemy of the Emperor Rudolph II., and the thought may easily have arisen in his mind that he might find the same liberality in the German monarch as he had formerly found in King Frederick. With the Emperor's physician, Hagecius, Tycho had continued to correspond, and he had even a more influential ally in the Imperial Vice-Chancellor, Jacob Curtz of Senftenau, with whom he had also exchanged letters, and who in 1590 had sent him the privilege for his writings which Hagecius had some years before promised to get for him, together with a description of a method of subdividing arcs designed by Clavius, which is based on the same principle as that afterwards, in a more practical form, proposed by Vernier.[55] According to Gassendi, Curtz went to Denmark not long before his death (which took place in 1594), on the pretence of coming on the Emperor's business, and offered Tycho to intercede with the Emperor to procure an invitation to Bohemia in case he should wish to leave Denmark; he is even said to have offered Tycho his own house at Prague, and to have left, a plan of it with Tycho in case he might wish to have any alterations made in it.[56] After Curtz's death, Hagecius is said to have assured Tycho that the new Vice-Chancellor, Rudolph Corraduc, would not fail to befriend him.

It was perhaps with a view to the probability that he might soon wish to leave Denmark that Tycho disposed of his portion of the family property of Knudstrup, which, since the death of his father, he had possessed jointly with his brother Steen, and which his sons, as born of a "bondwoman," could not have inherited. The date of this sale is not known, but it must have been previous to the 10th August 1594, on which day he signed a document by which he reserved to himself the right to continue to call himself "of Knudstrup," without any injury to the rights of his brother or his brother's heirs.[57]

Among the causes which finally induced Tycho to leave Denmark, the quarrel with his former pupil, Gellius Sascerides, is supposed to have been an important one. We have mentioned that Gellius spent about two years in Italy. On the return journey he was at Basle for some time (1592–93), where he became a Doctor of Medicine, and he reached Denmark some time in 1593. He soon after began to visit Uraniborg, and eventually became engaged to Tycho's eldest daughter, Magdalene, at that time about nineteen years of age. Gellius would hardly have thought of aspiring to the hand of any other nobleman's daughter, but the peculiar position of Tycho's children, by many people not considered to be legitimate, may have given him courage. Tycho does not appear to have objected to the proposed marriage, and may have thought that the undoubted learning of Gellius made up for any supposed deficiency in lineage.[58] But the pleasant relations between Tycho and Gellius did not last long, probably because the latter during his long absence abroad had become unaccustomed to the imperious manner of Tycho, and the quarrel commenced in earnest in the following year, when the wedding began to be talked about. It appears that Tycho did not care to have festivities and expense in connexion with the ceremony, and further demanded that Gellius, after the wedding, should remain at Hveen for a while to assist in the work; and not content with this, he made certain stipulations as to the manner in which Gellius was to provide his wife with clothes, &c. On the other hand, Gellius is said to have

expected a dowry with his bride, while Tycho refused this, adding that if he would not take the girl for her own sake, he should not have her at all. In the autumn of 1594 the end of all this disagreement was that Gellius broke off the match. Still he seems about that time to have been frequently at Hveen, and Tycho wrote to his sister that all might yet be well if Gellius did not become vacillating again. But during an interview between Gellius and Tycho they quarrelled again about the matter, in consequence of which Tycho sent two friends to Gellius to demand a clear answer to the question whether he would accept the proposed terms or not. At first Gellius would not give a decisive answer, but during the next few days (in December 1594) he told one of the intercessors, Professor Krag, more than once, that he did not want Tycho's daughter; and on. learning this, Tycho and his daughter sent Gellius a formal notice that the engagement was at an end.[59] In a letter to a friend (which was afterwards produced), Magdalene Brahe expressed herself thankful that all was over.

Gellius was greatly blamed by many people, but he tried to shift the blame on others, particularly on Krag, saying that he himself was joking or drunk when he spoke to the latter, and that his words were not intended to be carried further. Tycho, therefore, in the beginning of January 1595, got Krag to give him a written account of all that had happened between him and Gellius, as he particularly wished his sister Sophia to have an unbiassed explanation. At the same time (11th January) Tycho wrote to the Rector of the University, and requested a statement from him and the professors to prevent Gellius from throwing all the blame on him and his daughter. This led to an agreement being drawn up five days later between the parties, which was signed and sealed by the rector and four professors,[60] and Tycho now seemed content. But the affair had of course been talked about, and Gellius continued his attempts to place himself in the best possible light. Tycho in the end got tired of this, and in February 1596 he again requested the University to investigate the whole affair, and let all documents laid before the academic senate by himself or his adversary be registered by the notary.[61] About the same time he drew up a list of all the accusations of Gellius,[62] and invited him to prove them before the professors. Gellius made several attempts to prevent further proceedings, but failed to do so, and formal conferences before the academic senate were commenced on the 25th February. They were continued off and on till the month of July, when everybody was probably so thoroughly sick of the wearisome twaddle, which could not lead to anything, that the matter was allowed to drop. The details of the proceedings[63] give scarcely any information about the origin of the quarrel, but it can hardly be doubted that Gellius would not have dared to trifle with Tycho and his daughter if he had not seen how unpopular his former master had become; and on the other hand, it is probable that Tycho's domineering manner first brought about the difference between him and Gellius which led to this unpleasant affair.[64]

During the years when all these annoyances happened to the astronomer, his scientific work continued to be carried on, and the years 1594 and 1595 are considerably richer in observations than those immediately preceding. Most of his observations for determining accurate places of fixed stars were made before the end of 1592, and the results were embodied in a catalogue of 777 stars for the end of the year 1600, which is printed in his Progymnasmata. After 1590 it was especially the planets which were observed (though they had always been regularly attended to), and in 1593 extensive series of observations of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were made. In 1595 observations of fixed stars were resumed in order to bring the number of stars in the catalogue up to 1000, and even in the first two months of 1597, immediately before leaving Hveen, some observations were taken in hot haste to make up the thousand (pro complendo millenario), mostly only depending on a single measure of the declination and the distance from one or two known stars, and sometimes with a rough diagram to identify the star. It must therefore be taken cum grano salis when Tycho already in January 1595 wrote to Rothmann that he had now finished "about a thousand stars," and when he writes in his Mechanica that the great globe was quite finished in 1595, exhibiting a thousand stars.[65] It has been suggested that it was this completion of Tycho's star-catalogue which lie wished to commemorate by the striking of a medal (or rather two, slightly different) bearing the year 1595. This is quite possible, and he may have wished, in the midst of all his worry and vexation, to have a memorial of the work carried on for nearly twenty years at Hveen.[66] A more lasting memorial of his activity and of the respect with which he was treated by any one able to value his work was the collection of letters exchanged between him, the late Landgrave of Hesse, and Rothmann. Rantzov had long ago suggested the publication of this series of scientific essays, and copies of some of them had been sent to Hagecius and Peucer, who had expressed a similar wish. They were printed in Tycho's own office, and form a quarto volume of 310 pp., and 38 pp. of laudatory poems, dedication, and preface.[67] The title shows that Tycho intended afterwards to publish letters to and from other astronomers, an intention which he did not live to carry out, so that only some of these letters have of late years been published. None of Tycho's other letters can, however, compare in importance with the lengthy essays exchanged between Hveen and Cassel, which give a most instructive picture of the revolution in practical astronomy effected by Tycho. The dedication to Landgrave Maurice alludes to the origin of Tycho's acquaintance with Landgrave Wilhelm, the renewal of it through Rantzov in 1585, praises the Landgrave for not having studied astronomy in books but in the heavens, and quotes from a funeral oration in which the hope had been expressed that the correspondence of the deceased with Tycho Brahe might be published, as it would show the world the merits of the Landgrave's scientific work. In the preface Tycho refers to the length of time necessary to form a complete series of observations by which the restoration of astronomy might be accomplished. Though the solar orbit may be sufficiently investigated in four years, the intricate lunar course requires the study of many years, while it takes twelve years to follow the oppositions of Mars and Jupiter round the zodiac, and even thirty years to see Saturn move round the heavens. He had commenced his own observations at the age of sixteen, though the results of the first ten years' work were less accurate than the later ones. Ptolemy and Copernicus had not observed for such a length of time, and consequently the numerical values of astronomical constants had not been well determined by them. As already remarked, most of the letters are in Latin, only those of the Landgrave and some of Tycho's replies to him being in German, with a liberal sprinkling of Latin words and sentences, which almost render unnecessary the Latin translation which always follows.[68] As also mentioned above,[69] there is towards the end of the volume a description of the instruments and buildings at Hveen, with woodcuts of the latter. Of the instruments, seven were already figured in Tycho's other books, and it appears that to a few copies of the Epistolæ he added an appendix of eleven leaves, with figures of some of the instruments, and on the last leaf a short note promising that a complete account of all of them should soon appear. This appendix was doubtless only printed in a very few copies, as it was soon to be rendered superfluous by the publication of Tycho's special book on his instruments.[70]

While the printing of Tycho's correspondence was being completed important events took place in Denmark. Tycho's last remaining influential friend, Jörgen Rosenkrands, died in April 1596, and the young king, who was now in his twentieth year, was soon afterwards declared of age, and was crowned on the 29th August at Copenhagen.[71] He had appointed Christian Friis of Borreby, Chancellor, and Christopher Valkendorf to the office of High Treasurer, which had been vacant since the death of Tycho's connexion, Peder Oxe, in 1575; but King Christian had both the will and the ability to govern himself, and soon made his authority felt and respected. He was personally of an

economical disposition, and at once began to introduce reductions in various branches of the administration. Among others who were made to feel the change of government was Tycho Brahe, who lost the Norwegian fief "immediately after the coronation," as he tells us himself.[72] As this was a serious loss to Tycho, he made an effort to recover the fief, or at least to be allowed to keep it till the 1st May, the usual time for giving up possession of beneficiary grants. On the 31st December 1596 he therefore wrote a lengthy letter in Latin to the new Chancellor, Friis,[73] pointing out how deeply interested King Frederick had been in his work, and how death alone had prevented him from carrying out his intention of permanently endowing the observatory at Hveen; how much he had done for the advancement of astronomy, as might be seen from the correspondence just published, and of which he would have sent King Christian a copy if the king had not been absent in Jutland. For the present, he only asked to have the Norwegian estate restored, or at least to let him keep it till May, as his steward would then have paid him the rents. With this letter Tycho sent a copy of his Epistolæ and a copy of the declaration of the Privy Council of 1589, promising to advise the king to endow Tycho's observatory in a permanent manner. In reply, the Chancellor, who was with the king in Jutland, on the 20th January 1597 wrote in a short, business-like manner, that he had laid Tycho's petition before the king, but that his Majesty did not see his way to pay anything from the Treasury towards the maintenance of the instruments, and that it was impossible to postpone the surrender of the Norwegian fief, as the main fief of Bergen (to which that of Nordfjord belonged) could not spare the income from it. But if the Chancellor could oblige him in any other way, he should be happy.[74]

It is very difficult to form an idea of the motives which dictated this changed behaviour of the king and the Government to the great astronomer, but there can hardly be any doubt that Tycho had made himself more than one enemy among the nobles, and these found in his own conduct faults enough which they could point out to the king, hinting that this self-willed man, who would hardly con- descend to obey the royal authority, had been petted long enough, and that there was no necessity for continuing to spend great sums of money on his instruments, the more so as it could not be a secret that he was by no means devoid of pecuniary resources himself. When they had reminded the king of Tycho's persecution of the tenant near Roeskilde, of his having not only neglected to attend to his duty of keeping the chapel of his prebend in repair, but also turned a deaf ear to repeated injunctions about this matter, it was probably not difficult for his enemies to influence the young king. Who these enemies were is not known with absolute certainty. Tradition mentions among them the king's physician, Peder Sörensen, with whom Tycho had, about twenty years before, exchanged friendly letters, but who is said to have become jealous of Tycho's dabbling in medicine, and particularly of his having distributed remedies against various diseases without payment. But Tycho himself considered Christopher Valkendorf and Christian Friis as having been the principal instigators in the events which led to his expatriation; at least he did so some time afterwards, when he mentioned them as such in several letters.[75] As early as about fifty years after these events it was currently believed that the ill-feeling between Valkendorf and Tycho arose from a quarrel about a dog,[76] but the story is told in different ways. We have already alluded to the version of the story according to which the quarrel occurred on the occasion of the visit of the young king to Hveen, and it was pointed out that Valkendorf was not at Hveen at that time. The well-known French writer, Pierre Daniel Huet, who was at Copenhagen in 1652, tells the story differently.[77] According to him, an English envoy had a dog which Tycho wanted for a watch-dog at Uraniborg; but as Valkendorf also coveted it, and the envoy wished to keep friendly with both of them, he promised to send them each a dog when he went home. But when the dogs came, one was much finer and larger than the other, and the king, who was asked to arbitrate between them, gave the large one to Valkendorf, which roused Tycho's ire and caused the enmity between them. But all this probably

rests on no other foundation than rumour only; and though Valkendorf as Treasurer may have been instrumental in depriving Tycho of some of his income, he can hardly have been his declared enemy, and a letter which Tycho wrote to him in May 1598 does not look as if there was any hostility or even coldness between them. But it is a necessity for human nature to have a scapegoat, and, with a rare unanimity, astronomical historians have told their readers that Valkendorf was the sole cause of Tycho's exile, and several of them indulge in very pretty expressions of indignation against that monster.[78] Of course they are not aware that Valkendorf's name is in very good repute in Denmark, where he distinguished himself not only as a statesman, but also as a promoter of learning by founding a college for poor students in connexion with the University.[79] It is far more likely that Friis, the new Chancellor, was an active enemy of Tycho's, and we shall see that he reaped a pecuniary advantage from the disgrace of Tycho.[80] As to the young king, there is every excuse for him, for it is really not strange that he should have thought it desirable to diminish the annual burden to the Treasury, which was without precedent, and which undoubtedly might be reduced without seriously interfering with Tycho's scientific work.

The Norwegian estate was not the only endowment which Tycho lost before leaving Hveen. On the 18th March 1597, Valkendorf received the king's order that Tycho's annual pension of 500 daler from the Treasury should cease.[81] If Tycho had not already commenced his preparations for leaving Hveen, he did so at once after this last blow. Though certainly not a poor man (for he was able six months later to invest 10,000 daler, or about £2200, a very considerable sum at that time), he would have been unable in future to maintain a large staff of observers, printers, and other assistants; the extensive buildings would require some outlay to keep them in repair, and the idea of retrenching could not be pleasant to him.[82]

These considerations, added to the natural feeling of disgust at the want of appreciation he had met with, and the wish again to enjoy the society of congenial minds, overcame the regret he must have felt at leaving the happy home where he had lived for fully twenty years, the buildings he had raised, and which had been the wonder of the age, and the hitherto obscure little island on which he had conferred imperishable fame. The observations, which had been progressing as usual, were discontinued on the 15th March (on which day the last ones, of the sun, moon, and Jupiter, were recorded), and the dismantling of the instruments, and the removal of these and other property to his house at Copenhagen, were rapidly proceeded with. Under the 21st March we read in the Meteorological Diary: "We catalogued all the Squire's books;" and we can picture to ourselves the desolation which soon reigned in the hitherto crowded library and observatories.

But Tycho was not allowed to leave Hveen without further annoyance. When the peasants on the island found that their master was not in favour at court, they drew up a memorial complaining of his oppression and ill-treatment of them. On the 4th April the king, therefore, commanded the Chancellor and Axel Brahe (apparently a brother of Tycho's, who in June 1596 had become a privy councillor) to proceed to Hveen on Saturday the 9th April, in order to examine on the following day into the complaints of the tenants, to inspect the land, and also to see "if he has dared to act against the ritual, as you, Christen Friis, are aware." The report of this expedition is not known, but proceedings were at once taken against the clergyman at Hveen for having acted contrary to the Church ritual. On the 14th April the following commission was issued to a privy councillor, Ditlev Holk: "Know you, that whereas a minister, by name Jens Jensen, has dared during the service in church to act against the ritual, and he for such audacious conduct is to appear before our beloved the honourable and learned Dr. Peder Winstrup, superintendent[83] of this diocese of Seeland, on the 22nd April: We order and command that you arrange to be present here in this town at the same time, and afterwards with the said Peder Winstrup in the said case to judge according to what is Christian and right."[84] The judgment of these two commissioners is not known, but in an old diocesan record it is stated that "the minister of Hveen was dismissed in disgrace for not having kept to the ritual and prayer-book in the form of baptism ("I adjure thee"), but acting differently; also for not having punished and admonished Tyge Brahe of Hveen, who for eighteen years had not been to the Sacrament, but lived in an evil manner with a concubine."[85]

In other words, the clergyman had omitted the exorcism in the baptismal service, a great crime in a Lutheran country, because it had been omitted by Zwingli and Calvin, but retained by Luther.[86] The "concubine" would a few years earlier have been called Tycho's lawful wife, as we have already shown, and though Tycho may not have been a regular attendant at the church of Hveen, he was unquestionably a man of a religious mind, as many passages in his writings show very clearly.[87] Bishop Winstrup was not very friendly to Tycho (as had appeared during the proceedings about Gellius before the University), and the minister of Hveen was probably not a very desirable person, as he afterwards, while staying with Tycho in Holstein, tried to make mischief between him and the steward left behind at Hveen.[88] That Tycho should not generally have conformed to the usage of the Lutheran Church seems unlikely when we remember his intimate friendship with Vedel, as well as the fact that there were several future clergymen, and not less than four future bishops, among his resident pupils.

It is not quite certain whether Tycho was still at Hveen during the month of April, while his treatment of the tenants and the conduct of the clergyman were being investigated. By the end of March the removal of his instruments, printing-press, and furniture had been completed, and only four of the largest instruments were left behind for a while, as too troublesome to move.[89] Shortly after Easter, Tycho Brahe and his family left their home at Hveen for ever, and took up their residence temporarily at Copenhagen.[90]

  1. Danske Magazin, ii. p. 249, 253 (Weistritz, ii. 175 and 182).
  2. Ibid., p. 250 (W., p. 177).
  3. Ibid., p. 260 (W., p. 192).
  4. Breve og Aktstykker angaaende Tyge Brahe og hans Slægtninge. Samlede af F. R. Friis, Kjöbenhavn, 1875, p. 1. From the Queen's letter-book in the Royal archives. It appears from two other letters that the Queen had lent Tycho 1000 Daler, which he was to pay back at Michaelmas 1590.
  5. G. F. Lassen, Documenter og Actstykker til Kjöbenhavn's Befæstnings Historie, Copenhagen, 1855, p. 111.
  6. Danske Magazin, ii. p. 254 (Weistritz, ii. p. 183), where also is given Tycho's acknowledgment of his being bound to provide the dyer with a new house.
  7. About her observation of the lunar eclipse of 1573, see above p. 73.
  8. Danske Magazin, iii. (1747), p. 12 et seq. During Lange's absence abroad Sophia Brahe sent him a long letter in Latin verses, which is printed in Resenii Inscriptiones Hafnienses (1668), but from a very incorrect copy. There is a more correct copy in the Hofbibliothek at Vienna, printed in Breve og Actstykker, pp. 6–25. The poem is most interesting from the numerous allusions to alchemy and astrology in it, but Sophia Brahe cannot have written it in Latin, to judge from what Tycho says of her attainments in a MS. note, also in the Hofbibliothek (ibid., pp. 160–161).
  9. Meteorological diary: "Rex Schotiæ venit mane H. 8, abiit H. 3."
  10. He was now the king's almoner.
  11. Danske Magazin, ii. p. 266 (Weistritz, ii. p. 200).
  12. These lines seem to have been a standing dish with King James, for according to Horace Marryat (A Residence in Jutland, the Danish Isles and Copenhagen, London, 1860, vol. i. p. 306) he also wrote them in a hymn-book belonging to Ramel, tutor to the young King Christian IV.
  13. Also in Gassendi, p. 106.
  14. Epist. astron., p. 175: "Exinde quasi quotidianos hospites habuerim." Meteor. diary, April 21: "Rex Scotiæ circiter horam 7 p.m. Helsingora cum Regina sua et comitatu in regnum per mare discessit, Navali regis comitatu stipatus."
  15. Tycho tells this himself in Epist., p. 256.
  16. Gassendi, p. 196.
  17. R. Wolf, Astr. Mittheilungen, xxxii. p. 66.
  18. Epist. astr., p. 182.
  19. Epist., p. 162. In his Handbuch der Mathematik, Astronomie, &c., ii. P. 337, R. Wolf states that Tycho and Rothmann had seen the zodiacal light; but I have not been able to find anything which looks like an observation of this.
  20. Epist., pp. 139–140.
  21. Ibid., pp. 89–90.
  22. R. Wolf, Astr. Mitth., xlv., where there is a résumé of the contents.
  23. Epist. astr., pp. 188–192.
  24. Chalmers' Gen. Biograph. Dictionary, London, 1815, vol. xx. p. 243. Tycho does not mention his name.
  25. "Capnuraniæ restinctio sen cometarum in aethera sublimationis refutatio." Kepler began a refutation of Craig's book (Opera, i. p. 279), and Longomontanus also (Gassendi, p. 206), but neither were printed.
  26. Epist., pp. 284–304. Tycho's first Apologia of 1589 was never published, though Lalande in his Bibliographie (and following him Delambre) mentions it as printed at Uraniborg in 1591. Tycho might have treated Craig's attack with the same contempt with which he met Christmann's attack on his solar theory, which he only answered by putting up in one of his rooms a picture of a dog barking at the moon, with the inscription "Nil moror nugas." Gassendi, p. 119.
  27. R. Wolf, Geschichte der Astronomie, p. 274.
  28. Epist. astr., pp. 198, 202, 205, 215. In 1592 Tycho was buying rags in Seeland for his paper-mill (Danske Magazin, ii. 280).
  29. Epist. astr., pp. 195, 200, 201, 205, 210, 212, 214. In April 1592 the Landgrave wrote that he had got four elks from Sweden, but three of them had died, probably from eating too many rotten acorns (p. 269).
  30. Epist. astr., p. 199, translated in Weistritz, ii. p. 209.
  31. Ibid., p. 210.
  32. He died on the 30th November 1591 (Diary).
  33. Epist., pp. 266 and 270.
  34. The verse is printed in Epist., p. 281. Tycho wrote to Landgrave Maurice in December 1596, when he at last sent him the two elks which the late Landgrave had wished for so much (ibid., p. 305).
  35. Carteggio inedito di Tichone Brahe, Giovanni Keplero e di altri celebri astronomi e matematici dei secoli xvi. e xvii. con G. A. Magini, tratto dall' Archivio Malvezzi de' Medici in Bologna, pubblicato ed illustrate da A. Favaro. Bologna, 1886, 8vo.
  36. This letter is printed in Tycho's Astr. inst. Mechanica, fol. H., reprinted in Carteggio, p. 392.
  37. In February 1591 Gellius wrote to Magini that Tycho had determined the places of 500 stars to within a minute of arc. Carteggio, p. 2O2.
  38. Carteggio, p. 403. It was Domenico Maria Novara (whose lectures Copernicus had attended) who had suggested that the latitudes had increased.
  39. Barretti Historia Cœlestis, p. 498; Kepler, De Stella Martis, (Opera omnia, iii. p. 211).
  40. Carteggio, p. 407. In a footnote Favaro quotes a statement by J. D. Cassini, that he had seen a sextant which T. Brahe had got made for Magini by a workman sent from Denmark, and that M. sold the sextant as soon as the workman was gone. No doubt this "workman" was Gellius.
  41. Published in the Danish Nyt Historisk Tidskrift, vol. iii.; compare T. Lund, Historiske Skitser efter utrykte Kilder, Copenhagen, 1876, p. 322 et seq.
  42. Cort Axelsen from Bergen; see the Meteorol. Diary.
  43. Astron. inst. Mechanica, fol. B. (where for 1590 should be read 1592). Tycho had already in 1589 procured a couple of globes for the Prince from the Dutch artist Jacob Floressen (Florentius), who sent his son to Hveen to obtain correct star-places for his globes, which Tycho declined to give in writing, while he allowed him to examine the great globe in the library (Progym., p. 274). In 1600 Tycho sent a star-globe to the Elector of Saxony.
  44. Lund, Historiske Skitser, p. 353, quoting Slange's Christian den Fjerde's Historie (1749). I have not seen this mentioned elsewhere.
  45. Tycho calls him in the diary Vilihelmus, Dux Curlandiæ et Semigalliæ (i.e., Semgallen or Samogitia, the south-east part of Courland), but he was not a Duke, and never became one. He probably visited Denmark to endeavour to enlist the sympathy of that country for Courland, which had a difficult position between Russia and Sweden.
  46. Epist., p. 198, last line. The letter is dated Cal. Augusti, which should be Cal. Aprilis, as may be seen from the Landgrave's answer.
  47. Meteor. Diary. In Breve og Aktstykker, p. 3, is a letter from Tycho dated June 1591 to the Rector of the University asking for the testimony of Dr. Krag and Magister Kolding, who had been present at Hveen when the two men came over from Roskilde.
  48. Herredsthing, i.e., court of the hundred.
  49. Landsthing.
  50. The whole judgment is printed in Danske Magazin, ii. pp. 274–278 (Weistritz, ii. pp. 216–224).
  51. Also printed in Danske Magazin, ii. p. 279 (Weistritz, ii. p. 226).
  52. Danske Magazin, 3rd Series, vol. iv. p. 263.
  53. Danske Magazin, ii. 281–283; Werlauff, De hellige tre Kongers Kapel i Roeskilde Domkirke, Copenhagen, 1849, p. 18 et seq.
  54. See the Diary, passim.
  55. Astr. inst. Mechanica, fol. G. 6; Delambre, Astr. moderne, i. p. 253.
  56. Gassendi, p. 131. I have not succeeded in finding Gassendi's authority for this. Curtius is not mentioned in the Meteorological Diary, so he can hardly have been at Hveen.
  57. Danske Magazin, 4th Series, ii. p. 325. It is characteristic of the careless manner of spelling names which prevailed in those days, that Tycho Brahe's name in the document is spelt Tygge Brahe, in the signature Thyghe Brahe. In Latin or German he always wrote Tycho, in Danish generally Tyge.
  58. The following account is taken from Dr. Rördam's paper in the Danske Magazin, 4th Series, ii. p. 16 et seq., which is founded on documents in the archives in the Copenhagen University which were not accessible to Langebek (D. M., ii. p. 285 et seq.).
  59. Krag was perhaps hardly a safe person to employ in a delicate mission. He had recently been appointed royal historiographer, and had the following year the meanness to accept all the materials laboriously gathered by Tycho's friend Vedel, whom the Government forced to deliver up all his collections, because he had delayed the writing of his Danish history so long. Krag told Tycho in a pointed manner that he was glad that it had only fallen to his lot to describe the youth of Hveen and not its decay, by which he meant that his history was to stop at the death of King Frederick II. Wegener's Vedel, p. 200.
  60. Alluded to in Danske Magazin, ii. p. 292 (Weistritz, ii. p. 250), as a "contract;" it does not seem to be in existence now.
  61. On the 5th February 1596, Tycho had procured a royal order to the Chapter of Lund to judge the matter, as Gellius had obtained a medical appointment in Scania, and therefore in matrimonial matters was under the jurisdiction of the said Chapter; but it is not known what action the Chapter took.
  62. Printed in Danske Magazin, ii. p. 286 (Weistritz, ii. p. 239). The charges of Gellius relate to the demands that he should stay at Hveen, keep his wife in fine clothes, &c.
  63. Danske Magazin, ii. pp. 291–307 (Weistritz, ii. pp. 248–281).
  64. Gellius married in 1599, became Professor of Medicine in the Copenhagen University in 1603, and died 1612 (Rördam, l. c., p. 31). Magdalene Brahe went with her father to Prague, and apparently never married.
  65. Longomontanus says in his Astronomia Danica, p. 201, that the work on the star-catalogue was commenced in 1590, and went on for five years ("Ego . . . huic de fixis cœlitus restituendis negocio et exsecutioni non solum interfui, sed etiam præfui").
  66. One of these medals (in silver) is in the royal numismatic collection in Copenhagen, described and figured in Danske Magazin, ii. p. 161, and Weistritz, ii. p. 14. It is about 11/4 inch in diameter, and shows on one side Tycho Brahe's portrait, and round it "Effigies Tychonis Brahe O. F. æt. 49" (O. F. means Ottonis Filii), on the other his coat of arms, and round this his motto: "Esse potius quam haberi. 1595." The other medal is in a collection at Prague (Friis, T. Brahe, p. 363), and is a quarter inch more in diameter; the only other difference is the inscription round the arms: "Arma genus fundi pereunt, durabile virtus," (and inside this) "Et doctrina decvs nobilitatis habent."
  67. "Tychonis Brahe Dani, Epistolarum astronomicarum Libri. Quorum primus hic illustriss. et laudatiss. Principis Gulielmi Hassiæ Landtgrauij ac ipsius Mathematici Literas, vnaque Responsa ad singulas complectitur. Vraniburgi. Cum Cæsaris & Regum quorundam priuilegiis. Anno MDXCVI." Colophon is the vignette with "Svspiciendo despicio," and underneath: "Vranibvrgi Ex officinâ Typographiâ, Authoris. Anno Domini MDXCVI." The portrait of Tycho which appears facing the title-page is from 1586, and is engraved by Geyn of Amsterdam. There is a copy of it in Gassendi's book. The printing must have commenced before 1590, as Gellius had given Magini a few printed leaves of the book (Carteggio, p. 233).
  68. Here is a specimen from the Landgrave's first letter (to Rantzov): "Darneben wollen wir euch auch nicht verbalten, das vff angeben Paul Vvitichij, wir vnsere Instrumenta Matliematica dermassen verbessert, dass, da wir zuuor kaum 2 Min. scharff, wir jetzo 1/2 ja 1/4 einer min. obseruiren können. Haben vns derhalben vff die Art Quadrantem Horizontalem desgleichen ein Sextantem, ad obseruandas distantias Stellarum inter se, lassen zurichten, jedes von gutem Messing vnd bicubital. Hal ten auch drei Gesellen, Astronomiæ & Obseruationum peritos ad iustificanda loca Stellarum Fixarum." Letters from learned men, if not written altogether in Latin, were generally written in this mongrel tongue.
  69. See above, p. 211.
  70. This appendix or pamphlet ("Icones instrumentorum qvorvndam Astronomiæ instaurandæ gratia a Tychone Brahe Dano diligentia, impendioqve inestimabili elaboratorvm") is mentioned by Friis, Tyge Brahe, pp. 363–364. In 1889 I tried in vain to get a look at it at the Royal Library at Copenhagen, but it was not there. These pictures are alluded to in Tycho's letter to the Chancellor of the 31st December 1596.
  71. Tycho attended the coronation (Meteor. Diary), and a few days after he was visited by Johann Müller, "Mathematicus administratoris Brandenburgensis." See also Gassendi, p. 153.
  72. In his Latin account of how he left Denmark. Barrettus. Hist, Coel., p. 801
  73. Tycho had first applied to Valkendorf, but in vain (l. c.).
  74. The two letters are printed in Hofman's Portraits historiques des hommes illustres de Danemarc (1746), vi. pp. 14–16, and in Danske Magazin, ii. pp. 310–314 (Weistritz, ii. pp. 289–297).
  75. In a letter to Professor Grynæus at Basle, dated 8th October 1597, Tycho says that "duo Dynastæ," either from ignorance of science, or from hatred and malice towards him, or from both causes, got his endowments taken from him. In a letter to Magini, dated 3rd January 1600, Tycho speaks in stronger terms. He wanted Magini to get some Italian writer to compose a panegyric on him, and had sent Magini some materials for this, but he mentions that he does not want his country, nor the king, nor the nobility at large to be abused, as most of these had nothing to do with his exile. "Perstringendi vero solummodo pro merito Cancellarius modernus et Aulæ Magister; qui cum patriæ honorem ex officio promovere debuissent, eum potius ob avaritiam et sorditiem pari invidia, malignitate et odio coniunctum (cum ipsi liberalibus scieintis vel nihil vel admodum parum tincti essent) impediverunt et exterminarunt. Nomina eorum invenies in iis quæ de caussis discessus mei Latine exarata nunc mitto." He adds that their names are as well worth preserving as that of Herostratos who burned the temple of Diana at Ephesus! (F. Burckhardt, Aus Tycho Brahes Briefwechsel, Basel, 1887, pp. 10 and 14. Magini printed the letter in his Tabulæ primi Mobilis, but left out the above passage, which, therefore, does not occur in the Carteggio, p. 418.)
  76. Danske Magazin, ii. p. 322, quotes Th. Bartholin, De medicina Danorum (1666). Gassendi (p. 140) also knows the story.
  77. Pet. Dan. Huetii, Episcopi Abrincensis, Commentarius de rebus ad eum pertinentibus. Amstelodami, 1718, 12mo, p. 90. Huet was on his way to Queen Christina of Sweden when he visited Copenhagen and Hveen. As he mentions the Danish savant Ole Worm, he may have had the story from him.
  78. For instance: "Son nom doit être cité pour être reservé à l'infamie et devoué à l'exécration des savans de tous les âges." Lalande's Astr., i. p. 196 (2nd edit.).
  79. "Valkendorf's Collegium" (founded 1589) is still in existence. Valkendorf died in January 1601.
  80. If Friis was really so great an enemy of Tycho's, it is very curious that he should a few years after act as Mæcenas to Longomontanus, Tycho's favourite pupil. See the preface to his Astronomia Danica.
  81. See Tycho's account, "De occasione interruptarum observationum et discessus mei," Barretti, Hist. Coel., p. 801. The date is given in Friis, Tyge Brahe, p. 229.
  82. In addition to Hveen, he still held the prebend of Roskilde and the eleven farms in Scania; the rent from the latter was barely 200 daler a year (Weistritz, i. p. 170).
  83. After the Reformation the Danish Bishops were for some time styled superintendents, but the old name soon came into use again.
  84. Danske Magazin, ii. p. 316 (Weistritz, ii. p. 300).
  85. Ibid., p. 317.
  86. It is curious that King Christian IV. already in 1606 desired Bishop Winstrup, when a little princess was being christened, to leave out the exorcism. D. Mag., ii. 319.
  87. Riccioli quotes Progymn., pp. 712, 777, to show that Tycho had too much veneration for Luther, Melanchthon, and Chytræus, "those pests of the human race" (Kästner, Gesch. der Math., ii. p. 407). Gassendi, on the other hand, by several extracts shows how full of true religious feeling Tycho always was when speaking of the Creator of the Universe (p. 190 et seq.).
  88. Danske Mag., ii. p. 318 (Weistritz, ii. p. 305), quoting a letter from Tycho to Holger Rosenkrands. In the above-mentioned letter to Grynæus, Tycho thus describes the incidents narrated above: "Accesserunt et aliæ non pauculæ tribulationes, quibus abitum meum eo citius promoverunt, adeo ut ne quidem a Parocho meo in mei contumeliam et despectum persequendo abstinuerint, quod is detestandum et impium istum Exorcismum in Pædobaptismo meo conscio omiserit. Ideoque officio privatum, et per integrum mensem citra latam sententiam incarceratum, parum abfuit, quin etiam capite plecterent, nisi ego cum meis Amicis apud reliquum Regni senatum tantam sævitiam avertissem. Quin et Rusticos tam contra me quam eundem Parochum meum clancularie excitatos tantum aberat, ut secundum leges (prout urgebam) eorum iniustam perfidiam et rebellionem refrænare voluerint, ut potius horum im- merita defensione suscepta in malitia illos confirmarint. Ego autem Parochum tandem ex istis afflictionibus liberatum in Germaniam mecum recepi."
  89. These were: Armillæ maximæ (with the equatorial arc belonging thereto), and Quadrans chalybeus magnus, both at Stjerneborg; the great Mural quadrant and Semicirculus magnus azimuthalis, the latter of which was in the southern observatory at Uraniborg. See Tycho's account, De occasione interrupt, obs., Barrettus, p. 801.
  90. The diary and the account in the observing ledger (Barrettua, p. 801) differ as to the date of Tycho's departure from Hveen. In the latter he says that he left the island with his family "statim a Paschatis Festo die 29 Aprilis" (most distinctly written in the original MS.) But Easter was the 27th March. The diary is silent from the 22nd March to the 10th April inclusive, "propter alias occupationes observaase aut notasse non potuimus," and under April 11 it has: "Primum ingressi sumus novum Musæum Hafniense." On the 17th April: "Profectus est Tycho Roschyldiam." The diary stops abruptly on April 22nd at the middle of a page, and was never taken up again. Probably it was on the 29th March that Tycho left Hveen, and this is confirmed by his German account, in which he says that he was at Copenhagen "in die dritte Monat," i.e., more than two months.