Station One: Wadham Astronomy

Libertus Fromondus

Ant-Aristarchus (1631)

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Fromondus taught philosophy at Louvain, and was a prolific and informed scientific writer, who corresponded, for instance, with Descartes on meteors, and whose Meteorologica (1627) was very widely read and indeed reprinted in Oxford in 1639. Yet he remained a traditionalist in his physics. Fromondus was also a committed theologian, taking a doctorate in theology in 1628, and he saw through the press in 1640 the posthumous work of his friend and predecessor Cornelius Jansen, Augustinus, the book that sparked off the long and fierce Jansenist controversy on the continent. The 'decretum' referred to in the title of Fromondus's Ant-Aristarchus was the decree in 1616, following the trial of Galileo, of the Roman Congregation of the Index, responsible for prohibiting or censoring books. The Congregation proscribed various texts supporting heliocentrism, including Copernicus's De revolutionibus, 'donec corrigatur', 'until it be corrected'.