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Volume 6, No. 2
Rheticus' Poem 'Concerning the Beer of Breslau and the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac'
Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514-1574) was central to the development and popularization of Copernicus' heliocentric theory. He is most well known for the first published account of the theory, the Narratio Prima in 1539, and his persuasion in obtaining Copernicus' manuscript for publication, De Revolutionibus (1543). Rheticus' poem 'Concerning the Beer of Breslau and the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac', written circa 1542, sheds light on two aspects of Rheticus' early involvement with the heliocentric theory. The poem helps us understand the approach to astrology which would prove decisive in Rheticus' acceptance of the heliocentric theory and offers a glimpse into Rheticus' association with Wittenberg's controversial group of young poets. This relationship significantly injured Rheticus' career and the heliocentric theory in turn.