Banned Books Week: Tycho Brahe and the Spanish Inquisition

University of Glasgow Library

In support of Banned Books Week, a US-based initiative celebrating the freedom to read, I thought I’d draw attention to an interesting item I recently stumbled across in our book stacks. Two attractive* quarto volumes of Tycho Brahe’s astronomical works, both printed in 1610. Peeling back the limp parchment cover reveals a titlepage with some additional scribbled script: below Tycho’s name, someone has written “Auctoris damnati; sed hoc opus cum expurgatio ne permissu[m]”. This translates roughly as “Damned author; but this work is permitted with expurgations”. Damned author? What on earth is going on here? Well, by turning the page and looking on the verso of the titlepage things become clearer. The same hand has written: “Expurgatus a D. Michaele Pedro Comissario S[an]ct[e] Inquisitionis iuxta indicem librorum expurgatoru[m] novum. 1632. El Dom. M. Pedro” – or, “Expurgated by Michaele Pedro, Commisioner of the Holy Inquisition concerning…

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About bibliodeviant

This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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