The princeps (first edition) of the Dialogue

The "Dialogo" (external link) was printed in February 1632. By the summer of the same year, an order from the ecclesiastical authorities had already ended its dissemination. The work was finally banned with the church edict of 22 June 1633.

The protective sheet of the princeps

Protective sheet of the princeps

Rare Books. Rar_4346.

Engraving by Stefano della Bella (1610–1664). Depicted are (left to right) Aristotle, Ptolemy and Copernicus deep in conversation. Their names appear on the hems of their cloaks. Copernicus holds the model of his heliocentric system – the tellurium – in his hands. A comparison with known portraits of Copernicus and Galileo clearly shows that della Bella had put Galileo's chubby features on the thin, scraggy Copernicus. It can also be seen in the other figures that both Ptolemy and Aristotle are dressed in the same way as Galileo.

Perhaps this engraving is saying that Galileo is in the Dialogue simultaneously outlining Aristotle, Copernicus and Ptolemy, whose teaching he knows extensively and to some extent advocates in equal shares with great wisdom even though he in no way divides it in this same proportion. With keen intuition, Galileo captures both the correct and the incorrect assertions in their teaching and skilfully brings out both aspects.

The Latin edition

The protective sheet of the Latin edition of 1635 gives the three great personalities their own physiognomy back again. Ptolemy and Copernicus are shown with the facial features handed down to us.

The protective sheet of the Latin edition by Bernegger (1710)

Rare Books. Rar_4030:1.

The Latin translation of the "Dialogue" (external link) written by Matthias Bernegger (1582–1640) was published in 1635 by the Elsevier printing house in Strasbourg, enabling the work banned by the church in 1633 to be widely disseminated in Europe.