The Last Book of the 16th-Century to Reject Copernicus’ Heliocentric Theory
HILL, Thomas. Schoole of Skil: Containing Two Bookes: the first, of the sphere, of heauen, of the starres, of their orbes, and of the earth, &c. The second, of the sphericall elements, of the celestiall circles, and of their vses, &c. Orderly set forth according to art, with apt figures and proportions in their proper places, by Tho. Hill. London: Printed by T. Judson, for W. Jaggard , 1599.
First Edition. Two parts in one octavo volume (7 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches; 185 x 142 mm). Continuous pagination. [6], 267, [1, blank], [2, table of contents] pp. Lacking initial blank [sig. "A"]. With Spherical woodcut device on title-page, and numerous woodcut illustrations, diagrams and initials throughout. This has been the only copy at auction in the past 30 years. All English 16th-Century books on Astronomy are rare.

Half 19th-Century maroon morocco over cloth boards. Spine lettered and stamped in gilt. Edges dyed red. Edges a bit rubbed. Inner hinges cracked but firm. Top margin of title-page trimmed close, just touching first word. Fore-edge of leaf D5 frayed. Some marginal dampstaining to pages 49-56 and 233-final leaf. Pages 118-119 misnumbered 102-103, and 122-123 misnumbered 106-107. Leaves M5 and M6 misbound between M2 and M3, but all leaves present and complete. Leaf edges around "Table of contents" a bit darkened and last leaf of "Table" with a repaired marginal tear, not affecting text. Overall very good.

Thomas Hill [pseud. Didymus Mountaine] was a writer and translator. He "knew Latin and Italian and he became known as a translator of popular books on science and the supernatural...In 1560, the year of his first extant almanac, he was described as a leading almanac-maker... A mathematical and astronomical textbook, The Schoole of Skil, which rejects Copernicanism, was printed [posthumously] by William Jaggard in 1599." (Oxford DNB).

"Apart from Blundeville...the only other 16th century astronomical writer of any significance who explicitly rejected the Copernican system was Thomas Hill, who died about 1575." (The Reception of Copernicus’ Heliocentric Theory, John L. Russel, pg 198). On page 42 of The Schoole of Skil, Hill writes "Aristarchus Samius, which was 261 years before the birth of Christ, took the earth from the middle of the world, and . . . [put it in motion] about the sun, which he feigned to stand in the middle of the world as immoveable, after the manner of the fixed stars. The like argument doth that learned Copernicus apply unto his demonstrations." [pg. 42].

"Hill alludes to the fact that the idea of heliocentrism was ancient and familiar. Medieval and early modern scholars all knew about Aristarchus, but they believed they had very convincing arguments (drawn from Aristotle) that the earth was in the center of the cosmos and was stationary. Although Hill is about to launch into a number of arguments against Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the cosmos, he nonetheless accords him a certain respect, referring to him as “that learned Copernicus.” And indeed, if you read the entire book, you find numerous positive references to Copernicus. Hill often uses Copernicus’ calculations for various astronomical values like the length of the solar year. Many early readers of Copernicus used the mathematical models in On the Revolutions for calculating planetary positions. Although very few sixteenth-century readers accepted the physical reality of heliocentrism, they still saw considerable value in Copernicus’ work." (Before Newton. Kathleen Crowther, University of Oklahoma).

ESTC S104125. STC 13502.

HBS # 68233 $9,500