The quotation from Tractate XVI, the one translated by Lazzarelli, goes much further than just the idea of the rotating globe, although to be sure that was heretical enough. The passage I quoted moves the center of the universe to the sun rather than the earth.
I have been researching where Copernicus got his ideas from. All I have is what he himself says in De Revolutionibis
(http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/ye ... nicus.html
). First, in the preface:
For a long time, then, I reflected on this confusion in the astronomical traditions concerning the derivation of the motions of the universe’s spheres.I began to be annoyed that the movements of the world machine, created for our sake by the best and most systematic Artisan of all, were not understood with greater certainty by the philosophers, who otherwise examined so precisely the most insignificant trifles of this world. For this reason I undertook the task of rereading the works of all the philosophers which I could obtain to learn whether anyone had ever proposed other motions of the universe’s spheres than those expounded by the teachers of astronomy in the schools. And in fact first I found in Cicero that Hicetas supposed the earth to move. Later I also discovered in Plutarch that certain others were of this opinion. I have decided to set his words down here, so that they may be available to everybody:
Some think that the earth remains at rest. But Philolaus the Pythagorean believes that, like the sun and moon, it revolves around the fire in an oblique circle. Heraclides of Pontus, and Ecphantus the Pythagorean make the earth move, not in a progressive motion, but like a wheel in a rotation from west to east about its own center
Therefore, having obtained the opportunity from these sources, I too began to consider the mobility of the earth. And even though the idea seemed absurd, nevertheless I knew that others before me had been granted the freedom to imagine any circles whatever for the purpose of explaining the heavenly phenomena. Hence I thought that I too would be readily permitted to ascertain whether explanations sounder than those of my predecessors could be found for the revolution of the celestial spheres on the assumption of some motion of the earth..
Since he refers to the "world machine", it is possible that he is prompted to that thought by seeing machines that rotated a globe in triumphal processions. But of course the Ptolemaic view also postulated a "world machine" in the sense in which he means the word "world" here, namely, the machine of the cosmos, rotating around the earth. However what he says is that he read diligently in the works of the philosophers. Also, he says in what I quoted that he got his idea of the earth's moving from classical sources. I have not found an online version of Copernicus that actually gives Copernicus's specific sources here, but I did spend a little time tracking down the Plutarch citation. It is pseudo-Plutarch, De Placidus Philosophorum
, Book III, Ch. 11 and 13. Ch 11 is at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... apter%3D11
; Ch. 13 is at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... apter%3D13
Later in the work Copernicus cites a "letter from Lysis to Hiparchus" on the same subject. Hipparchus was a well-known ancient astronomer, featured in Raphael's "School of Athens". This letter had been published in Greek in Venice of 1499, in a good edition by Aldus Manutus, but the one that Copernicus translated was from another "very defective" print "which also appeared in Venice in 1499", according to Jeremi Wasiutinski in The Solar Mystery
2004, p. 207, citing L. A. Birkenmajer, Mikolaj Kopernik. Studya nad pracami Kopernika oraz materyaly biograficzne
1900, pp. 121-125.
Reading further, I find that Copernicus actually quotes from the Corpus Hermeticum
itself, in Book One, Chapter Ten:
At rest, however, in the middle of everything is the sun. For in this most beautiful temple, who would place this lamp in another or better position than that from which it can light up the whole thing at the same time? For, the sun is not inappropriately called by some people the lantern of the universe, its mind by others, and its ruler by still others. (Hermes) the Thrice Greatest labels it a visible god, and Sophocles’ Electra, the all-seeing. Thus indeed, as though seated on a royal throne, the sun governs the family of planets revolving around it. Moreover, the earth is not deprived of the moon’s attendance. On the contrary, as Aristotle says in a work on animal , the moon has the closest kinship with the earth. Meanwhile the earth has intercourse with the sun, and is impregnated for its yearly parturition.
The label "visible god" comes from Tractate One, the Poimandres. But given Copernicus's diligence, I would imagine that he read every word of the Corpus--it is not even very long, 92 pages in Copenhaver's translation.(Consider that his library at his death contained the complete works of Plato, as translated by Ficino, and also Bessarion's Calumniator
, both rather ponderous tomes; the Calumnator was valuable if only for its long quotations from Greek sources, with Latin translation. My source here is Wasiutinski p. 503.)
So although I have read absolutely nothing in the literature on Copernicus to this effect--in fact, the discussions I have read say precisely the opposite, that Copernicus's theory is not found in an ancient source--it seems to me highly probable that he got the idea for a sun-centered cosmos, or at least found confirmation there for his own suspicions, from this tractate translated by Lazzarelli and published by Symphorien Champier in 1507 (Copenhaver p. xlix, 200). According to Wikipedia, Champier was based in Lyon. (How Champier might have got a copy of Lazzerelli's translation is discussed by Copenhaver in his book on Champier, p. 170, at http://books.google.com/books?id=JjqgAA ... Lazzarelli
.) It is not as though the Corpus was an obscure document; it was still the book of the hour, and one Copernicus himself cites. It is true Copernicus does not cite this tractate; but he may have lost the book, or merely borrowed it, and forgotten where he read it. Or he might have seen Lazzarelli's manuscript itself, as he was in Rome in 1500. Or he might have seen the original Greek, his skill in which he was perfecting at that time. I notice in Wasiutinski 's list (p. 503) that Copernicus owned the works of one of Lazzarelli's chief sponsors, Pontano ("Joannes Jouianus Pontanus"), published Venice 1503.
For quick reference here it is again, from Tractate 16, section 17, p. 61 of Brian Copenhaver, Hermetica
Around the sun are the eight spheres that depend from it: the sphere of the fixed stars, the six of the planets, and the one that surrounds the earth.