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A forged manuscript reveals a controversial work that Galileo Galilei wrote under a pseudonym

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The letter, which contains astronomical hypotheses and was signed by Alimberto Mauri, criticized the Ptolemaic view of the solar system defended by Galileo’s scientific adversary, the philosopher Lodovico Delle Colombe.

The recent controversy over a manuscript attributed to Galileo Galilei which in August was concluded to was a forgery has revealed that the famous Italian astronomer wrote a book under a pseudonym.

In August it was reported that a letter allegedly written by Galileo Galilei, part of the University of Michigan Library collection, was actually a forgery made during the decade of 1930.

And now, that revelation has led to another discovery, as the Italian researcher Matteo Cosci has come to the conclusion that the author of the manuscript ‘Considerazioni Astronomiche di Alimberto Mauri’ is also the famous Italian astronomer, according to LiveScience.

Initially it was thought that the letter preserved in Michigan was a draft of a letter from the 24 August 1609 that Galileo wrote to the Doge of Venice describing his observations with a telescope he had built. However, a historian at Georgia State University, Nick Wilding, was suspicious of the manuscript’s authenticity and assumed it to be a 20th-century forgery by notorious forger Tobia Nicotra.

The Michigan letter it had been authenticated by an Archbishop of Pisa named Cardinal Pietro Maffi, deceased in 1931. The cardinal had in his collection two other documents supposedly signed by Galileo, and one of them (a letter) accompanied a treaty of 1606, ‘Considerazioni astronomiche di Alimberto Mauri’.

The letter, signed by Alimberto Mauri, is a kind of critique of the work of the philosopher Lodovico Delle Colombe, who lived and published his works at the time of Galileo. Delle Colombe defended the Ptolemaic (Aristotelian) view of the solar system and believed that the stars are motionless. Galileo was a supporter of the heliocentric theory, for which he was constantly criticized by his contemporaries, in particular by Delle Colombe, according to a statement from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

El manuscrito de Galileo Galilei en que el físico supuestamente informa sobre un telescopio resulta ser falso

An example of this rivalry is a list, found among Galileo’s papers, of “places where hespeaks of me [Galileo] with contempt”.

Galileo was known to use pseudonyms and that was a common practice to avoid controversy. However, the authorship of ‘Considerazioni astronomiche’ had not been confirmed until now.

“It is a comprehensive treatise and is written by one of the most brilliant minds in western science”, commented Matteo Cosci.

The scientific work was published only a few years before Galileo’s famous work ‘Sidereus nuncius’ (‘Sidereal messenger’), in which in 1609 described his groundbreaking observations of the Moon and four satellites of Jupiter using the first astronomical telescope.

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