Friday, April 20, 2018

Turin-Paris: This cosmos is a mess

The universe described in G. B. Marino's third Sacred Oration, dating back to 1609, is -- as already mentioned -- the 'old,' precopernican one. Or, only apparently so. In the following passage, in fact, the complex movements of the planets and stars are ascribed to two sources that, as such, come from the astronomical pattern of Aristotle and his commentators. So, there is nothing actually new in this, but it is worth to highlight some details. Dante, for one, had basically the same pattern in his mind, but he drew a much plainer cosmos out of it. Marino here lists (1) a "simple," "uniform," "rational" motion, on the one hand; while (2) . . .

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 115
The second one—opposite to the former though not contrary in an absolute sense, just insofar as it runs against the former along the diameter with an opposite course—is termed "second" because it is assigned to the lower spheres. It is not wholly simple because it never accomplishes itself unless it mixes with the first, main motion. It is somehow common, i.e. to the seven errant planets only, not however to that prime sphere that turns above all others. It is unequal and varied [or even "deformed" (difforme)] because, before it can be accomplished, it passes through many variations since every planet has its own motion, either lazy and slow or swift and fast, anyway different from all others. It is irrational because, according to the natures of the planets that wander here and there in their epicycles, it becomes errant, and sways.