Now how did I come to this … well none other than through that wonderful trilogy of books I’ve been mentioning by Patrick Leigh Fermor: that classic memoir of a journey across pre War Europe – which encompasses history intertwined with science and other disclipines.
Who on earth was Tycho Brahe? Fermor introduces him via discussions about Emperor Rudolf II, who had made Prague his capital and filled it with treasures.
|The Tychonic Cosmological model
(can be found in Wiki)
The Emperor deeply versed in astronomical studies had invited Tycho Brahe (1546 – 1601) to his Court … the great astronomer arrived noseless from a duel in Denmark; he then continued to live in Prague until his death of the plague.
Just a bit of background:
|Brahe and Kepler in Prague
Rudolf (1552 – 1612) was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria … he was a member of the House of Hapsburg.
After Brahe died, Kepler was summoned to continue Brahe’s work on the planets, remaining until the Emperor’s death in 1612.
Albrecht von Wallenstein became supreme commander of the armies of the Hapsburg Monarchy and thus very influential and powerful. Wallenstein inherited Kepler from Rudolf …
|Engraving of the Mural Quadrant from
Brahe's book: "Astronomiae
Instauratae Mechanica" (1598)
This was in Denmark at Uraniborg -
which Tycho Brahe left after an
argument with the Danish King
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543): Renaissance mathematician and astronomer, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the centre of the universe.
Tycho Brahe (1546 – 1601): astronomer, astrologer and alchemist – he was the last of the naked eye astronomers. He admired Copernicus but was unable to reconcile Copernican theory with the basic laws of Aristotelian physics, that he considered foundational.
Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630): mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. Later in his life he became an assistant to Tycho Brahe … additionally he did fundamental work in the field of optics.
|A replica of "the nose"
Now I had really get back to Prosthetic Noses … Brahe’s real one was lost, when he was 20, in a duel with one of his cousins – they were later reconciled – but his cousin’s swipe in the dark took off the bridge of his nose.
Brahe was studying at the University of Rostock – his injuries were taken care of and was able to live with his ‘false’ nose. It was said to be made of silver and gold, kept in place with paste (flour or starch) or glue.
|Archduke Rudolf ... note the
As you’d expect (us humans being quizzy people) his body has been exhumed twice, once in 1901 and again in 2010, to examine the circumstances of his death and to identify the material from which his nose was made.
The conclusion was that his death was most likely caused by a burst bladder – an infection from the plague. While the artificial nose was more than likely to have been made of brass …
|The first of Patrick Leigh Fermor's books
The nose is the principal element of our physiognomy … so its symbolic value as an expression of our character has demanded, from very ancient times, reconstructive surgery or application of prosthesis to be sought.
Tycho Brahe’s nose has led me to many places … something completely different today … but as you might expect – it led me to other interesting ideas!
Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books – this is the first of the trilogy …
There’s some interesting information on ‘Amputation of the Nose throughout History’ in this Italian article… it is a fascinating read – and could well be inspirationally used in a few of your books.
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