Two Views of the Celestial Spheres

Flowers For Socrates

This engraving by an unknown artist is called Empedocles Breaks through the Crystal Spheres. It first appeared in 1888 in a book by Camille Flammarion with the caption: “A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch …”


On February 19, 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus was born, the Polish mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe with the Sun instead of the Earth at the center. His book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), triggered the Copernican Revolution which culminated with Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation.

George Santayana (1863-1952) born as Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás in Madrid, Spain; philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States. He wrote in English and is generally considered…

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