TIMELINE 16th CENTURY




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TIMELINE 16th CENTURY

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What were Ariosto and Cyrano doing on the Moon, and how did they get there? We examine both works of fiction and important contemporaneous works on non-fiction which set the context for early Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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16th Century

Executive Summary of the Century Major Books of the Decade 1500-1510 Major Books of the Decade 1510-1520 Major Books of the Decade 1520-1530 Major Books of the Decade 1530-1540 Major Books of the Decade 1540-1550 Major Books of the Decade 1550-1560 Major Books of the Decade 1560-1570 Major Books of the Decade 1570-1580 Major Books of the Decade 1580-1590 Major Books of the Decade 1590-1600 Other Key Dates and Stories of this Century Major Writers Born this Century {to be done} Major Writers Died this Century Decade by Decade Science Background Decade by Decade Mundane Background Hotlinks to other Timeline pages of SF Chronology Where to Go for More: 51 Useful Reference Books

Executive Summary of the Century

The 16th Century was a time of great exploration, religious turmoil, political turmoil, scientific advances, and extraordinary literature. EXPLORATION Ferdinand Magellan's expedition circumnavigated the world. He himself died on the mission, which started 1519. The only surviving ship to return was that commanded by Basque captain Sebastian Elkano. Christopher Columbus continued his discoveries (see 1504). European explorers mapped the New World: * Balboa dies in Panama (1517) * Spanish conquistadores conquered native peoples of Central and South America * the civilizations of the Andes and of Mesoamerica were destroyed * Portugal explored and colonized Brazil and other areas. * Europe's economy energized by huge quantities of gold from the Americas * the Horse introduced to America RELIGIOUS TURMOIL Martin Luther championed religious reform with the Protestant Reform of the Christian Church in several Northern European countries. King Henry VIII of England split from the Roman Catholic Church and creates the Church of England (1533). The French Wars of Religion raged between Catholic and Huguenots in France. POLITICAL TURMOIL Nation States, an invention of Nicolo Machiavelli (1513), as perfected by Elizabeth I, rose, merged, split, and warred. * The largest state in Europe was Poland, at the peak of its power. * Castile invaded the kingdom of Navarre. * Spain controlled much of all world trade, especially after it obtained control over Portugal (1580) * The Dutch Revolt (1568-1648) freed a small country from the grip of the biggest superpower (Spain). * After the fall of Antwerp (1585), many merchants fled to Amsterdam. * The Ottoman Empire reached as far as Vienna, but was unable to capture the city (1529) * The Spanish Armada is smashed by Sir Francis Drake; England rules the oceans (1588) SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES Most importantly, Copernicus published his theory (1543) that the earth was not the center of the universe (geocentrism) but, rather, the Earth and the other planets orbit around the Sun (heliocentrism). This was the defining event of the Copernican Revolution, which forever changed Astronomy, and indiectly changed all of Science and all of humanity's awareness of its place in the universe. 9 other Great Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians, and Inventors included: * Tycho Brahe [born 14 Dec 1546 in Knufstrup, Denmark; died 24 Oct 1601 in Prague] (1572),(1577),(1580),(1588) * Giordano Bruno (1583),(1590),(1591),(1600) * Girolamo Cardano [born 24 Sep 1501 in Pavia, Duchy of Milan (now Italy); died 21 Sep 1576 in Rome] (1545) * Leonardo da Vinci [born 15 Apr 1452 in Anchiano, Tuscany; died 2 May 1519] (1500) * Galileo [born 15 Feb 1464, Pisa; died 8 Jan 1542] (1581),(1590),(1592) * William Gilbert [born 24 May 1544; died 10 Dec 1603] (1600) * Johannes Kepler [born 16 May 1571; died 15 Nov 1630] (1592),(1600) * John Napier [born 1550 in Murchiston Castle, Scotland; died 4 Apr 1617, Edinburgh] (1594) * Andreas Vesalius [born 31 Dec 1514 in Brussels; died 1564 in a shipwreck off the coast of the island of Zacynthus] (1543) New plant species were imported from the Americas and grown for the first time in Europe, including: * maize (corn) * potato * tomato * chocolate * tobacco New inventions revolutionized manufacturing and other aspects of life: * Wheel-lock Musket, invented by Leonardo da Vinci (1500) first Gun in the West * Helicopter, invented by Leonardo da Vinci (1500) * spinning wheel changed textile manufacturing * Pocket Watch, invented by Peter Henlein (1502) * Diving Bell (1535) * Seed Drill, patented by Camillo Torrello (1566) China had it 1700 years earlier * Camera Obscura (1570) * Enameling of Pottery, rediscovered by Bernard Palissy (ca.1575) * Knitting Machine (stocking frame), invented by Reverend William Lee (1589) * Compound Microscope, invented by Zacherias Janssen (1590) * others {to be done} The Gregorian Calendar was introduced in Catholic countries (1582). Paracelsus was a key figure in the long transformation of Alchemy into Chemistry (1530). WHO'S WHO in the ARTS and POLITICS 15 of the most widely recognized names of the age were: * Ludovico Ariosto, Italian author [born in Reggio, Emilia, 8 Sep 1474; died 6 July 1533 in Ferrar] (1516) * Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, Spanish author of (among other things) the post-modernist "Don Quixote" books, centuries ahead of his contemporaries' style [born in Alcala de Henares, near Madrid, baptized 9 Oct 1547; died 23 Apr 1616 in Madrid] * Albrecht Durer, German Artist [born 21 May 1471 in Nurnburg; died 6 Apr 1528 in Nurnburg, Germany] (1525) * Thomas Kyd, English playwright [born 6 Nov 1548, died Dec 1594] (1585) * Christopher Marlowe, English playwright/poet [born in Canterbury, 6 Feb 1564; stabbed in eye and died 30 May 1593 in Deptford, England, possibly a counterespionage assassination] (1587),(1589) * Sir Thomas More, English statesman and author, whose Utopian novel established the genre [born 7 Feb 1478, London; died 6 July 1535 by beheading for treason, Tower of London, his last words on the scaffold: "The King's good servant, but God's first." Beatified 1886, canonized as a saint by Pope Pius XI 1935] (1516),(1535) * Francois Rabelais, French author [born Chinon, Touraine c.1483; died 9 Apr 1553 in Paris] (1532) * William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet, whose Fantasies influenced the field forever [born 23 Apr 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon; died 23 Apr 1616 in Stratford-on-Avon] (1594) * Edmund Spenser [born c.1552 in London; died Jan 1599] (1589) * Martin Luther, religious reformer and inventor of the modern Christian hymn [born born 10 Nov 1483 in Eisleben, Germany; died 14 Feb 1546 in Eisleben, Germany] * Michaelangelo Buonarotti, painter, sculptor, and poet [born in Caprese, near Arezzo 1475; died 1564] * Hernan Cortes, Conquistador * Elizabeth I, English Queen (1558) * Philip II, Spanish King * Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (1599)

Major Books of the Decade 1500-1510

1500: Leonardo da Vinci designs the first helicopter; and Chinese philospher Wan Hu straps 47 rockets and some kites to a chair, climbs in, and is blown to bits -- the first potential astronaut martyred. 1501: Hieronymus Brunschwygk publishes "Liber de arte distillandi de simplicibus" (a.k.a. "The Small Book") on how to build stills and furnaces, and all about distillation; he publishes "The Big Book" expanding on this in 1512. 1501: "Laus stultitiae", a.k.a. "Moriae encomium" [In Praise of Folly] by Desiderius Erasmus, ridicules human nature. Born in Holland, died in Switzerland (1466-12 July 1536), Erasmus brought humor and skepticism together in a way that influenced much fiction, such as that of Jonathan Swift. 1504: In a plot twist often quoted, Christopher Columbus astonishes a tribe of native Americans by successfully predicting the total lunar eclipse of 29 Feb 1504, by referring to the "Ephemerides astronomicae" by Regiomontanus. The power of the book in First Contact with aliens is established... 1507: "Cosmographiae" by Martin Waldseemuller gives the first printed description of tobacco. Major Books of the Decade 1510-1520 1513: "Il Principe" [The Prince] by Nicolo Machiavelli is the breakthrough book on ruling, power, and the paradigm of the Nation State. In a sense, this was a dominant work of POLITICS in science fiction... 1516: Another line of descent of Science Fiction begins with Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" (1516 in Latin, translated into English in 1551), which makes him not only a Christian saint, but an SF one as well. Some experts have said that science fiction is, first and foremost, a search for Utopia. Other critics emphasize the notion that science fiction offers a "menu" of Utopian futures based on new technological contexts for the human being, intended to be self-fulfilling prophecies; and also a "menu" of Dystopian futures, in which some unhealthy trend is extrapolated to a horrible extent, intended to be cautionary tales or self-defeating prophecies. In either case, Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" is an important milestone in the evolution of the genre. See the essay and lists about later works on the theme of Utopia. Sir Thomas More was beheaded in the Tower of London, on orders of Henry VIII, for not swearing allegiance to the new Chrurch of England headed by Henry, in 1535. 1516: One could claim that the Italian author Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" (1516 & 1532) was a precursor to Science Fiction, by including a chapter on Asdolf travelling to and having adventures on the Moon, thus making a transition from chivalric romances (based on legends of Charles the Great) to science fiction. Oddly enough, those chivalric romances were not quite killed by Cervantes, and survived in mutated form in the fantasy novels of the late 20th century. 1517: Martin Luther nails "95 Theses" on the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, Germany, thus launching the Protestant Reformation with a work of self-published writing. Critical opinion was strongly mixed.

Major Books of the Decade 1520-1530

1520: The assaying of metals is improved by "Probierbuchlein" [Little Book of Assays] 1520: A map is published by Peter Apian that shows the continent of America; he publishes a book on Cartography in 1524 1522: The first Arithmetic book published in England, by Cuthbert Turnstall 1525: "Die Coss" by Christoff Rudolff, one of the first book to use decimals, introduces the modern symbol for square roots. 1525: A book on geometric construction and proofs involving complex curves, published by influential German artist Albrecht Durer (21 May 1471-6 Apr 1528). He is thus influential on both Science illustration and Fantasy art. 1527: A book by Peter Apian [Petrus Apainus, born 16 Apr 1495] has on its frontispeiece the first Eurpoean publication of Pascal's Triangle. 1527: "Archidoxus" is written by Paracelsus, although it's not published until 1570, and it explains that when wine is frozen, the liquid remaining after ice is removed is of higher proof than the original wine, as if distilled.

Major Books of the Decade 1530-1540

1530: "Herbarum vivae eicones" [Living Portraits of Plants] is published by Otto Brunfels, illustrated by Hans Weiditz, with 230 species analyzed 1530: "Syphilis sive de morbo gallico" [On Syphilis, the French Disease] Girolamo Fracastoro invents the word and describes the disease 1530: "Paragranum" by Paracelsus (?-24 Sep 1541) explains why medicine should be a science based on physical laws, and is the first author to recommend chemical compounds (such as those of antimony and mercury) as medicines 1532: Francois Rabelais, in a five-part novel today divided into "Gargantua" and "Pantagruel" (1532-1564), is modern and science fictional in various ways. The First Book tells of the birth, education, and farcical adverntures of Gargantua, son of Grangousier and Gargamelle. He wars with his father against his neighbor Picrochole, and wins a great secret as his reward: "Fais ce que voudras" [Do what you please]. That's the swinging 1960s or the Utopian future in a maxim, I should say. In Book Two, Gargantua and Badebec have a son, Pantagruel, who is sent to the great universities of Europe in an ongoing satire about the nature of encyclopediac education. In the process, he becomes friends with Panurge, and wars against Dipsodes and the Giants (sort of a 1940s/1950s sci-fi battle). Panurge cannot decide whether or not to marry, so in Book Three he consults the Sybille of Panzoust (the forecasting/futurology theme of SF), the poet Raminagrobis (the language-mad literary origin of SF), the magician Herr Trippe (the Fantasy roots of SF), Doctor Rondibilis (the Frankensteinian biomedical roots of SF), the Philosopher Trouillogan (the metaphysical basis of SF), and the madman Triboulet (the alienated individual as SF protagonist). The madman sends them to ask the oracle of the Divine Bottle. In Book Four, in the resulting quest, our company of heroes set sail for a whole series of fantastic countries -- the travel-to-alien-worlds theme of SF. In Book Five they reach the Divine Bottle, and the priestess gives them the enigmatic answer "Drink." The whole vast story is exuberant high-sprited buffoonery, frequnetly obscene, always funny. It prefigures science fiction in its scepticism of all established dogma -- lampooning schoolmen, lawyers, monks, theologians, political and military leaders. It s "liberal" in the old sense of arguing for life according to nature, rather than the dictates of Church or State. The flavor of this masterpiece can be found in the late 20th century works of the Strugatsy brothers (always poking fun at Soviet stuffed shirts), the comic fiction of Robert Sheckley, Frederic Brown, or any of the iconoclastic works of SF which exalt the individual. 1533: "De principus astronomiae et cosmographie" by Reiner Gemma Frisius (1508-?) is the first explanation in print of how knowing the exact time by chronometer and comparing to solar time can be used to determine a ship's longitude. 1535: "Dispensatorium" by Valerius Cordus details many drugs and medicines 1536: "Utriusque arithmetices" by Hudalrichus Regius lists the 5th Perfect Number: 33,350,336 which (like 6 and 28) equals the sum of its divisors. In a sense, Hudalrichus Regius was a proto-computer-nerd who calculates late into the night and then gives away his cool software. 1538: Hans Holbein the Younger's "Les simulacres et histoires de la mort" features 41 "dance of death" woodcuts. Important in the history of Fantasy Art. 1538: "Homocentrica" by Giralamo Fracastoro tries to improve the crystal sphere analysis of the Solar System along the lines of Eudoxus. It requires 79 spheres rolling about, with the sun, moon, and planets attached.

Major Books of the Decade 1540-1550

1540: They knew it in China by 635 A.D., but it was news to Europe when Peter Apian published "Astronomicon Caesareum" and mentioned that comets' tails always point away from the sun (as we now know, because of the pressure of sunlight, the basis of the Solar Sail spaceship). 1540: "De la stelle fisse" [On the Fixed Stars] by Alessandro Piccolomini is the first Atlas of the heavens in which stars (some previously given Arabic names, some newly depicted) are identified by letters. 1540: Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514-?) achieves a journalistic coup by outlining in "Narratio Prima de Libris Revolutionum" the great discovery of the heliocentric astronomy that Copernicus would not publish until 1543. 1540: "De la Pirotechnica" [On Pyrotechnics] by Vannoccio Biringuccio (1480-1539) is a handbook of mining, ores, smelting, distilling, and sublimating. 1542: Jean Francois Fernel publishes the first description of peristalsis and appendicitis. 1542: Leonard Fuchs publishes a botanicum which describes 400 plants of Germany and, more importantly, 100 plants from other parts of the world including the corn, pumpkins, and peppers of North America. 1542: "The Gounde of Artes" by Robert Recorde is the most popular textbook on arithmetic of its day, going through at least 29 editions, and containing some cute mnemonic poems for remembering certain algorithms. 1543: Nicolaus Copernicus' "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium", the great nonfiction book which gave birth to the modern world, by overthrowing "The Almgest" of Ptolemy, and restructuring our vision of the universe with the earth not at the center, but orbiting the Sun, as do the other planets. Nonfiction, alright, but a book that changed the world, and implicit in every novel of interplanetary travel. He died later that year, 24 May 1543. 1543: In the very same year as Copernicus' "De Revolutionibus", Andreas Vesalius (31 Dec 1514-?) published "De Humani Corporis Fabrica", modifying Galen and thus beginning the modern conception of the structure of the human body. 1543: the attack on Aristotle's "Physics" continues with "Aristotelicae Animadversiones" [Aristotle Reproved] by Peter Ramus (1515-?). 1544: "Cosmographia" by Sebastian Munster is the most comprehensive book yet on world geography. 1544: "Arithmetica Integra" by Michael Stifel surveys arithmetic and algebra. 1545: "Ars Magna" [The Great Art] by Girolamo Cardano is the first publication to give the solution to cubic and quartic equations. We now know that this work was based on two plagiarisms: the cubic solution of Tartaglia (the Stutterer) and the quartic by Cardano's protege Luigi Ferrari. Cardano was a physician, mathematics professor, gambler, and astrologer imprisoned for casting the horoscope of Jesus Christs. 1545: A book on surgery amd medicine by Ambroise Pare' (1510-?) suggests the revolutionary concept of treating wounds with gentle salves and ointments instead of boiling oil (ouch!). So-called witches had done so for centuries. 1546: "De Contagione" [On Contagion] by Giralamo Fracastoro puts forth the notion that infectious diseases are transmitted from one person to another by means of some sort of tiny seeds -- the first statement of the Germ theory of sickness. 1546: "De Natura Fossilium" [On the Nature of Digging] by Georgius Agricola establishes the word "fossil" for interesting things dug from underground, including the bone-like and shell-like stones that puzzle him, which today we consider true fossils.

Major Books of the Decade 1550-1560

The ghost story with believably complex mortals affected by the supernatural reached a never-exceeded high point in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet." Shakespeare's "The Tempest" (1611) is covered in the web page for the next century. 1551: Euclid's "Elements" condesned and popularized in "The Pathewaie of Knowledge" by Robert Recorde. 1551: Erasmus Reinhold (25 Oct 1511-?) publishes tables of planetary positions based on Copernicus' theory, which are the best since the Alphonsine tables (1252). 1551: "Historia Animalium" by the Swiss Konrad von Gesner (26 Mar 1516-?) is the first great book of modern Zoology. This book is expanded to a tetrology by 1558. 1552: Bartolemeo Eustachio writes a book of anatomy which incldudes for the first time the Adrenal glands, detailed tooth structure, and what we now call (in his honor) the Eustacian Tubes of the ear. The book is not published until 1714. 1553: "Chronicle of Peru" by Pedro de Cieza de Leon describes, among other things, the Potato. 1553: Michael Servetus publishes an anonymous monograph on theology. It is also the first book to claim that blood circulates to the lungs from the heart and back to the lungs, as Colombo later proves (1559). The theology, however, results in John Calvin having Servetus, on 27 Oct 1553, burned at the stake. Critics today rarely have so much power. 1555: "L'histoire de la Nature des Oyseaux" [History of the Nature of Birds] by Pierre Belon classifies 200 species of birds and compares their bone anatomy to that of humans. 1556: Georgius Agricola's (Georg Bauer's) "De Re Metallica", the nonfictional treatise on technological chemistry, mining geology, and engineering, is posthumously published. Good English translation (1912) by Mr. (later President of the U.S.A.) and Mrs. Herbert C.Hoover. 1556: an earthquake in January or February kills over 800,000 people in Shensi Province, China -- the highest fatalities ever from a quake. 1557: "The Whetstone of Witte" by Robert Recorde is the first book in English to use the equal sign "=", the plus sign "+" and the minus sign "-" 1558: Elizabeth I coronated Queen of England. She is a major patron of Fantasy literature (see Spenser, Shakespeare) and has been a character in many literary works of fantasy herself. 1559: "De Re Anatomica" by Realdo Colombo proves Galen wrong, follows in the footsteps of Vesalius, and specifically proves Michael Servetus right (see 1553).

Major Books of the Decade 1560-1570

1560: The first scientific society is founded by Giambattista della Porta (Oct 1535-?) -- the Academia Secretorum Naturae -- and is soon shut down by the Inquisition. Secret societies of scientists battling the establishment occur forever after in Science Fiction. 1560: "Krauterbuch" [Book of Herbs] byBock. 1561: Gabriel Fallopius (1523-?) publishes "Observationes Anatomicae" which analyzes the inner ear and the human female reproductive apparatus (including what we, in his honor, call the Fallopian Tubes). 1562: England makes the practice of Witchcraft a capital offense. 1564: Michaelangelo and Shakespeare both born. 1564: the first horse-drawn coach in England -- the Dutch had them for years 1568: Gerardus Mercator (5 Mar 1512-?) invents the map design that we now call the Mercator Projection.

Major Books of the Decade 1570-1580

1570: Giambattista della Porta invents the pinhole camera, or Camera Obscura which revolutionizes the use of perspective in art, and is a popular hit throughout the developed world. 1572: Tycho Brahe observes and publishes (in 1573's "De Nova Stella" data on a "Nova" [new star] which he spotted in the constellation of Cassiopeia. It is also written about in China, and maybe pictorially by Native Americans, as it is as bright to the naked eye as the planet Venus, and can be seen for a year plus three months. Through even a small telecope today we see the remnants of what we would now call a "Supernova" there, in what's called the "Crab Nebula." 1572: "Algebra" by Rafael Bombelli uses continued fractions to determine the roots of equations, but more importantly. is the first book to use complex numbers (real plus imaginary numbers) in the solution of equations. 1573: Humphry Cole invents the Ship's Log, for recording the speed of ships through the ocean waters at regular intervals. Remember this when Captain Kirk dictates the Ship's Log of the Enterprise. 1574: "Beschreibung Allerfurnemisten Mineralischen Ertzt und Bergwerksarten" [Description of Mineral Ores and Mining Technology] by Lazarus Ercker. 1575: "Arithmeticorum Libri Duo" by Francesco Maurolico is the first book to prove a theorem by Mathematical Induction. The theorem was known 2000 years earlier by Pythagorus, but they proved it geometrically. The theorem is that the sum of the first N odd numbers 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 + 13 +... + (2N-1) = N x N 1576: "Prognostication Euerlastingue" by Leonard Digge has an appendix by his son Thomas Digges which for the first time suggests that the heliocentric solar system of Copernicus is surrounded by an infinite space scattered with stars. Science Fiction writers now, for the first time, had an infinite stage on which to strut their characters... 1577: Tycho Brahe measures the distance from the Earth to the great comet of 1577 and shows it to be at least 4 times as far as the Moon, thus conclusvely disproving the old theory that comets are merely phenomena of the atmosphere. 1579: "Canon-Mathematicus" by Franciscus Vieta makes cogent arguments for writing numbers as decimals. It also interpolates the Trigonometric Tables of Rheticus down to each angular Second. 1579: the first Glass Eyes are fabricated, and their cosmetic value also leads to speculation (Latin pun) on the creation of artificial human beings...

Major Books of the Decade 1580-1590

1580: Tycho Brahe succeeds in having Denmark's King Frederick II build him a new astronomical obervatory. Every scientist since then has understood the political value of publishing good research proposals. 1580: Prospero Alpini (23 Nov 1553-?) rediscovers what gardeners knew for hundreds of years, namely that plants are like animals in having two sexes. 1580: "Discours Admirables de l'Art de Terre, de son Utilite, des Esmaux et du Feu" [Admirable Discourse on Pottery, its Uses, on Enamels, and on Fire] by Bernard Palissy (1510-?) surveys chemistry and geology and technology in explaining his 1575 rediscovery of the technology of enameling pottery. 1581: Galileo (15 Feb 1554-?) studies the swinging lamps at Pisa's cathedral and determines that the time period of the swing does not depend on the extent of the swing, but only on the length of the cord attaching the lamp to the ceiling. This overthrows Aristotle's analysis of the pendulum, and leads to accurate clocks... 1581: "The New Attractive" by Robert Norman reveals aspects of the magnetic field of the Earth, incluing the magnetic dip of the compass needle 1582: Pope Gregory XIII reforms the calendar, on the recommendation of German astronomer Christoph Clavius (1537-?). The days between 4 Oct 1583 and 15 Oct 1583 never exist. People riot in the streets, demanding "Give us back our 11 days!" From now on, the leap years are redefined from the old Julian calendar, which will itself mess up some computers on 29 February 2000 A.D. 1583: The "Julian Day" calendar favored by Astronomers is devised by Joseph Justus Scaligier (5 Aug 1540-?). It sets Day 1 = 1 Jan 4713 B.C., and each day therafter adds one to the total, so that (for example, 1 Jan 1990 = Julian Day 2,447,527). The name is from Joseph's father, Julius Caesar Scaligier. 1583: Founding of the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland 1583: Giordano Bruno publishes the metaphysical "Della Causa, Principio ed Uno" [On Cause, Principle, and Unity] which included the claim that the universe was infinite and thus contained anything not prohibited by natural laws. This book and his lectures later got him burnt at the stake by the Inquisition. 1583: Giordano Bruno publishes "La Cena delle Ceneri" [The Dinner of Ashes] which defends Copernicus, on metaphysical if not scientific grounds. 1584: Giordano Bruno goes into greater depth on Infinity in "Dell Infinito, Universo e Moni" [Of Infinity, the Universe, and the World] 1584: the assassination of William of Orange 1584: Musical Equal Temperment invented by Chu Tsai-Yu 1585: Thomas Kyd's "The Spanish Tragedy" the first of a series of horrific plays to bleed across the Elizabethan stage. 1585: "On Mechanics" by Giovanni Battista Benedetti pounds a few more nails into the coffin of Aristotle's theory of Motion, and goes into detail on the idea of "Impetus" 1585: Simon Stevenus (1548-?) details the usage of decimal fractions in "De Thiende" [The Tithe] also popular in French translation as "La Disme" 1585: Simon Stevenus (not Galileo) is the first to drop different weights and oberve that they hit the ground simultaneously. 1585: Simon Stevenus demonstrates that a liquid's pressure on a surface is proportional to the depth of the surface beneath the top of the liquid multiplied by the area of the surface. 1586: Sir Walter Raleigh brings Tobacco smoking from Virginia to England 1587: Christopher Marlowe's "Tamburlaine" -- another play relevant to the history of Horror literature 1588: The Spanish Armada is smashed by Sir Francis Drake; England rules the oceans 1588: Tycho Brahe, based on his 1577 comet studies, conclusively disproves the notion that the solar system is constructed of "Crystal Spheres" carrying the planets through Ptolemaic epicycles in the book "De Mundi Aetherei Recentoribus Phaenomenis" 1589: "Natural Magic" by Giambattista della Porta is the first non-Oriental book to describe kites and how to fly them. 1589: The Reverend William Lee, in Cambridge, invents the Stocking Frame (the first machine for knitting) 1589: Christopher Marlowe's "The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus" The Faust legend dates back to the Middle Ages, and the earliest still-popular form appeared in this famous play by Shakespeare's contemprary and near-equal. This play, by the way, is much simpler in plot that the expanded version later written by Goethe. Here, the wildly ambitious scholar Faustus, tempted by his science-fictional craving for universal knowledge and secular power (i.e. an enlightened Mad Scientist prototype) decides to sell his soul to the devil for knowledge and power. He recites incantations within a smoke-and-fire ring in a forest grove, and manifests first a dragon, then Mephistophilis in an unendurably horrid format, and finally (through a magic spell) morphed to a Franciscan friar. He signs the contract in blood (as some cynics say Bill Gates did), which binds Mephistophilis to be his servant for 24 years, after which Faustus' body and soul is to be delivered to Lucifer. As a literary agent, your humble webmaster wonders how an agent's fee would have been paid in this transaction. Anyway, he gets 24 years of world travel, lots of political power, and rolls in the hay with the likes of Helen of Troy. The language of the play is magnificent; and Faustus is unable to wriggle out of the bargain. He is carried off, screaming, by a horde of demons. 1589-1596: Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen. In the tradition of Ariosto and the other great Renassance narrative poets in Italy, this superb, stupendous ancestor of modern Science Fiction/Fantasy Poetry was simultaneously a chivalric romance, a handbook of morals and manners, and an English national epic. We have only six completed books of the 12 he planned, each book in 12 cantos, originally scheduled for a 12-day feast held by Gloriana, Queen of Fairyland (a.k.a. Queen Elizabeth). On each of the 12 days a knight, representing one of Aristotle's 12 virtues, adventures. All virtues fuse in the central figure, Prince Arthur (Magnificence). Book I is of St.George, the Red Cross (Holiness) slaying the Dragon (Sin, or Error) which beseiges the castle of Una's parents, and is rescued from the Giant Orgoglio by Prince Arthur, who overcomes Duessa (False Faith). In Book II, Sir Guyon (Temperance) spurns the mundane temptations of Mammon's cave, destroys the Bower of Bliss, abode of the enchantress Acrasia (Intemperance), and is saved from Cymochles and Pyrochles by Prince Arthur, who delivers Alma (the Soul). I could go on, but mere summary may show the genre, but cannot reveal the complexity, wit, depth, or sublime quality of verse. 1589-1592: The first complete edition of the works of Paracelsus

Major Books of the Decade 1590-1600

1590: "De Motu" [On Motion] by Galileo buries Aristotle's theories on both theoretical and experimental grounds, including the experiments popularized by the story of dropping different weights from thr Leaning Tower of Pisa. See Simon Stevenus (1585). 1590: Zacherais Janssen invents the Compound Microscope 1590: "De Minimo, Magno et Mensura" continues the metaphysical publications of Giordano Bruno 1590: what is still the largest church in the world is completed, Rome's St. Peters, as designed by Donato Bramante and Michaelangelo, and built by Giacomo della Porta and Domenico Fontana and a cast of thousands. 1591: utopian philospher/author Tommaso Campanella publishes the anti-Aristotelian "Philosphia Sensibus Demonstrata" [Demonstration of the Philosophy of the Senses] 1591: They knew it in China for 2000 years, but Thomas Harriot (1560-?) is the first in Europe to publish the fact that snowflakes have a 6-sided symmetry. 1591: Franciscus Vieta publishes the first book to use letters for variables and constants (consonants for constants, vowels for vriables) as common ever after in Algebra, in "Isagoge in Artem Analyticam" [Introduction to the Analytical Art]. 1591: Gordano Bruno (1548-1600) publishes one of his three long scientific poems: "De triplici minimo et mensura", Frankfurt: Johann Wechel & Peter Fischer, 1591. I am indebted to Arielle Saiber, Assisatnt Professor of Italian, Bowdoin College, for this information. 1591: Gordano Bruno (1548-1600) publishes one of his three long scientific poems: "De monade numero et figura", Frankfurt: Johann Wechel & Peter Fischer, 1591. I am indebted to Arielle Saiber, Assisatnt Professor of Italian, Bowdoin College, for this information. 1591: Gordano Bruno (1548-1600) publishes one of his three long scientific poems: "De innumerabilibus, immenso, & infigurabili", Frankfurt: Johann Wechel & Peter Fischer, 1591. I am indebted to Arielle Saiber, Assisatnt Professor of Italian, Bowdoin College, for this information. 1592: Johannes Kepler publishes a beautiful theory, which unfortunately is utter rubbish, in "Mysteriumeriun Cosmographicum" -- namely that each sphere of the planets is circumscribed or inscribed in one of the Five Platonic Solids (tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron). He grudgingly gave up on this theory, and invented the immortal Kepler's Laws which describe the elliptical orbits of the planets. 1592: "Della Scienza Meccanica" [On the Mechanical Sciences] by Galileo 1592: Galileo invents the Thermoscope, an air-based thermometer 1592: In Korea, astronomers observe and write about a nova in the constellation Cetus, visible for 15 months. 1592: David Fabricius discovers the first known variable star, which we call Mira 1593: In China, the first description of a modern Abacus is published 1594: Robert Greene's "Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay" (1594) was a play believed to be derived from the prose pamphlet "The Famous History of Friar Bacon", and probably inspired by Marlowe's play "Faust" which hit the stage a year earlier (1593). It tells the science-fictional story of how Friar Bacon, and his adept-sidekick Bungay, constructed by magical means a brass head. Bacon summons the Devil, who says that the head will speak within a month. Bacon is exhausted from waiting and watching for three weeks, so he leaves his servant Mickey Mouse -- whoops, no, that's "Fantasia" -- I mean Miles to watch for him. The head finally speaks two words: "Time is." Miles doesn't think it's worth waking Friar Bacon. The head speaks again: "Time was." Then it concludes "Time is past," falls, and breaks. Bacon awakes too late, and berates Miles. We would see this in Robotic terms today, and we would also see videophones in the subplot of Bacon's "magic glass" which almost short-circuits a love triangle. 1594: William Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus", his first an in many ways most bloody drama, influential on modern Horror literature 1594: After 20 years of deep thought, John Napier of Edinburgh, Scotland, has the key idea for the invention of Logarithms 1595: "Atlas Sive Cosmographicae" by Mercator is posthumously published (he died in 1594) 1595: The first time the word "Trigonometry" appears is in a book by Bartholomaeus Pitiscus (24 Aug 1561-?) 1596: the "Herbal" of John Gerard surveys everything known in Europe on plants 1596: 1,000+ plants and 1,000+ animals and 8,000+ medical applications are covered in "Ben-zao Gang-mu" [The Great Pharmacopoeia] by Li Shi-Chen which also details how distill liquor from wine (as known in China for 8 centuries) 1596: The first warships clad in iron are built in Korea under the direction of Admiral Visunsin 1596: "Opus Palatinum de Triangulus" by Rheticus is posthumously published, containing trigonometric tables of the Sine, Cosine, Tangent, Arcsine, Arccosine, and Arctangent 1597: Kepler and Galileo send letters back and forth, and Galileo says that he now believes in the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. 1597: Andreas Libavius (1540-?), a scientist and alchemist both, protege of Paracelsus, publishes "Alchemia", arguably the first decent book on Chemistry which details (for example) how to make ammonium sulphate, tin tetrachloride, and hydrochloric acid 1598: The Edict of Nantes is proclaimed by Henry IV, giving French Protestants their civil rights 1598: A big financial reward is offered by Spain's Philip III to anyone who can accurately determine the longitude of ships at sea. (see Reiner Gemma Frisius, 1533). 1599: The Court of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor, in Prague (Czechoslovokia) is where the great astronomer Tycho Brahe now lives 1599: "Natural History", Volume 1, is published by Ulisse Aldrovandi, the best book yet on Zoology, later expanded into a trilogy 1600: The odd couple of Johannes Kepler (theorist) and Tycho Brahe (experimentalist) begin a stormy but spectacular collaboration in Prague 1600: "De Magnete" [Concerning Magnetism] by William Gilbert is the first book on Physics to be entirely based on experiment. It includes chapters on static electricity and the revolutionary idea that the planet Earth is a magnet. 1600: The 4th Apollonian problem (about constructing a circle to touch any three given circles) is solved by Franciscus Vieta 1600: Pi is calculated as 3.1415929 by Adriaen Anthoniszoon and son... we now correct that slightly to 3.141592653589793238462644... 17 Feb 1600: Giordano Bruno (1648-1600) was burnt at the stake for his writings, which were influenced by Platonic mysticism, Aristotelianism, pantheism, naturalism, the new natural sciences, and skepticism. He taught that God was as one with the universe, a diversity exhibiting unity, with life and intelligence in everything. He taught that there was an infinity of worlds, and thus there must be worlds identical to our own but with a single minor difference. 1600: "Hamlet" by Shakespeare, the greatest ghost story ever told, is first performed on stage.

Other Key Dates and Stories of this Century

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Major Writers Born this Century

1501: Girolamo Cardano [born 24 Sep 1501 in Pavia, Duchy of Milan (now Italy)] 1514: Andreas Vesalius born 31 Dec 1514 in Brussels; died 1564 in a shipwreck off the coast of the island of Zacynthus. 1544: William Gilbert born 24 May 1544; died 10 Dec 1603. 1547: Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, Spanish author of (among other things) the post-modernist "Don Quixote" books, centuries ahead of his contemporaries' style [born in Alcala de Henares, near Madrid, baptized 9 Oct 1547; died 23 Apr 1616 in Madrid. 1548: Giordano Bruno 1548-17 Feb 1600. 1548: Thomas Kyd, English playwright [born 6 Nov 1548, died Dec 1594 1550: John Napier born 1550 in Murchiston Castle, Scotland; died 4 Apr 1617, Edinburgh, Scotland. 1552: Edmund Spenser born c.1552 in London; died Jan 1599. 1564: Christopher Marlowe, English playwright/poet born in Canterbury, 6 Feb 1564; stabbed in eye and died 30 May 1593 in Deptford, England, possibly a counterespionage assassination 1564: Michaelangelo 1564: William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet, whose Fantasies influenced the field forever. Born 23 Apr 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon; died 23 Apr 1616 in Stratford-on-Avon. 1571: Johannes Kepler born 16 May 1571; died 15 Nov 1630.

Major Writers Died this Century

1519: Leonardo da Vinci born 15 Apr 1452 in Anchiano, Tuscany; died 2 May 1519 1533: Ludovico Ariosto, Italian author, born in Reggio, Emilia, 8 Sep 1474; died 6 July 1533 in Ferrar. 1535: Sir Thomas More, English statesman and author, whose Utopian novel established the genre [born 7 Feb 1478, London; died 6 July 1535 by beheading for treason, Tower of London, his last words on the scaffold: "The King's good servant, but God's first." Beatified 1886, canonized as a saint by Pope Pius XI 1935] 1542: Galileo born 15 Feb 1464, Pisa; died 8 Jan 1542. 1543: Nicholas Copernicus dies in Frambork 24 May 1543. 1546: Martin Luther, religious reformer and inventor of the modern Christian hymn; born born 10 Nov 1483 in Eisleben, Germany; died 14 Feb 1546 in Eisleben, Germany. 1553: Francois Rabelais, French author, born Chinon, Touraine c.1483; died 9 Apr 1553 in Paris. 1564: Andreas Vesalius born 31 Dec 1514 in Brussels; died 1564 in a shipwreck off the coast of the island of Zacynthus. 1564: Michaelangelo Buonarotti, painter, sculptor, and poet; born in Caprese, near Arezzo, Italy 1475; died 1564. 1576: Girolamo Cardano died 21 Sep 1576 in Rome. 1593: Christopher Marlowe, English playwright/poet [born in Canterbury, 6 Feb 1564; stabbed in eye and died 30 May 1593 in Deptford, England, possibly a counterespionage assassination. 1594: Thomas Kyd, English playwright [born 6 Nov 1548, died Dec 1594 1599: Edmund Spenser born c.1552 in London; died Jan 1599. 1600: Giordano Bruno 1548-17 Feb 1600.

Decade by Decade Science Background

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Decade by Decade Mundane Background

{to be done} 1543: Portuguese arrive in Japan 1598: The Edict of Nantes is proclaimed by Henry IV, giving French Protestants their civil rights

Hotlinks to other Timeline pages of SF Chronology

|Introduction: Overview and Summary |Prehistory: Ancient Precursors |Cosmic History: 13,000,000,000 - 3000 BC |4th Millennium BC: {name to be done} |3rd Millennium BC: Cheops, Gilgamesh, Sargon |2nd Millennium BC: Abraham to David |1st Millennium BC: {name to be added here} |1st Century: {name to be added here} |2nd Century: {name to be added here} |3rd Century: {name to be added here} |4th Century: {name to be added here} |5th Century: {name to be added here} |6th Century: {name to be added here} |7th Century: name to be added here |8th Century: Beowulf, Charlemagne, 1001 Nights |9th Century: Gunpowder and the first printed book |10th Century: Arabs, Byzantium, China |11th Century: Kyahham, Gerbert, Alhazen |12th Century: Age of Translations |13th Century: Final Flowering of Chivalry |14th Century: Dante, Marco Polo, and Clocks |15th Century: Dawn of Scientific Revolution |16th Century: Ariosto and Cyrano on the Moon [you are HERE] |17th Century: Literary Dawn |18th Century: Literary Expansion |19th Century: Victorian Explosion |1890-1910: Into Our Century |1910-1920: The Silver Age |1920-1930: The Golden Age |1930-1940: The Aluminum Age |1940-1950: The Plutonium Age |1950-1960: The Threshold of Space |1960-1970: The New Wave |1970-1980: The Seventies |1980-1990: The Eighties |1990-2000: End of Millennium |2000-2010: This Decade |2010-2020: Next Decade |Cosmic Future: Billions, Trllions, Googols

Where to Go for More

: 51 Useful Reference Books Beyond the World Wide Web... there is the library of old-fashioned books printed on paper. I strongly recommend that you start or follow-up your explorations of this web site by consulting any or all of these outstanding sources: ALDISS: "Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction", Brian W. Aldiss (New York: Doubleday, 1973; Schocken Paperback, 1974) ALLEN: "Science Fiction Reader's Guide", L. David Allen (Centennial Press, 1974) AMIS: "New Maps of Hell", Kingsley Amis (London: Gollancz, 1960; New York: Harcourt Brace, 1960) ASH1: "Who's Who in Science Fiction", by Brian Ash (Taplinger, 1976) ASH2: "The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction", edited by Brian Ash (Harmony Books, 1977) ASHLEY: "The History of the Science Fiction Magazine" [3 volumes] (London: New English Library, 1974) ASIMOV "Asimov on Science Fiction" (New York: Avon, 1981) ATHELING: "The Issue at Hand", "William Atheling, Jr." [James Blish] (Chicago: Advent, 1964) BARRON: "Anatomy of Wonder", edited by Neil Barron (Bowker, 1976) BAXTER: "Science Fiction in the Cinema", John Baxter (London: A. Zwemmer, 1970; New York: A. S. Barnes, 1970) BERGONZI: "The Early H.G. Wells", Bernard Bergonzi (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1961) BLEILER: "The Checklist of Fantastic Literature" Everett F. Bleiler (Chicago: Shasta, 1948) BRETNOR1: "Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and Future", edited by Reginald Bretnor (New York: Coward-McCann, 1953) BRETNOR2: "The Craft of Science Fiction", Reginald Bretnor (New York: Harper & Row, 1977) BRINEY: "SF Bibliographies", Robert E. Briney & Edward Wood (Chicago: Advent, 1972) CLARESON1: "SF: The Other Side of Realism", edited by Thomas D. Clareson (Gregg Press, 1978) CLARESON2: "Extrapolation, 1959-1969", edited by Thomas D. Clareson (Bowling Green, Ohio: University Popular Press, 1971) CLARKE: "The Tale of the Future", I. F. Clarke (London: The Library Association, 1961, 1972) CONTENTO: "Index to the Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections", William Contento G.K. Hall, 1978) DAY: "Index to the Science Fiction Magazine: 1926-50", Donald B. Day (Portland, Oregon: Perri Press, 1952) DeCAMP: "Science Fiction Handbook", L. Sprague DeCamp (New York: Hermitage House, 1953) ELLIK: "The Universes of E. E. Smith", Ron Ellik & Bill Evans (Chicago: Advent, 1966) EVANS: "The Index of Science Fiction Magazines", Bill Evans with Jack Speer (Denver: Robert Peterson, 1946?) FRANKLIN: "Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century", H. Bruce Franklin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966) FREWIN: "One Hundred Years of Science Fiction Illustration", Anthony Frewin (London: Jupiter Books, 1974) GOODSTONE: "The Pulps", Tony Goodstone (New York: Chelsea House, 1970) GUNN: "Alternate Worlds", James Gunn (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1975) HARRISON: "John W. Campbell: Collected Editorials from Analog", Harry Harrison (Garden City NY: Doubleday, 1966) HOLMBERG: "Science Fiction History", John-Henri Holmberg (Vanersborg, Sweden: Askild & Karnekull, 1974) KNIGHT: "In Search of Wonder", Damon Knight (Chicago: Advent, 1956; enlarged 1967) KYLE: "A Pictorial History of Science Fiction", David Kyle (London: Hamlyn House, 1976) LOCKE: "Worlds Apart", edited by George Locke (London: Cornmarket Reprints, 1972) LUNDWALL: "Science Fiction: What It's All About", Sam J. Lundwall (New York: Ace Books, 1971) METCALF: "The Index of Science Fiction Magazines, 1951-1965", Norm Metcalf (J. Ben Stark, 1968) MILLIES: "Science Fiction Primer for Teachers", Suzanne Millies (Dayton OH: Pflaum, 1975) MOSKOWITZ#1: "The Immortal Storm", Sam Moskowitz (AFSO Press, 1954; Hyperion Press, 19??) MOSKOWITZ#2: "Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction", Sam Moskowitz (Cleveland & New York: World, 1963) MOSKOWITZ#3: "Seekers of Tomorrow", Sam Moskowitz (Cleveland & New York: World, 1963) NESFA: "Index to the Science Fiction Magazines", New England Science Fiction Association (Cambridge MA: NESFA, 1971) PERRY: "The Penguin Book of Comics", George Perry & Alan Aldridge (London: Penguin, 1971) ROGERS: "A Requiem for Astounding", Alva Rogers (Chicago: Advent, 1964) ROTTSTEINER: "The Science Fiction Book", Franz Rottsteiner (London: Thames & Hudson, 1975) SADOUL: "Hier, L'An 2000 [Illustrations from the Golden Age of Science Fiction]", Jaxques Sadoul (Paris: Editions Denoel, 1973) STRAUSS: "The MIT Science Fiction Society's Index to the SF Magazines: 1951-64" Erwin S. Strauss (Cambridge MA: MIT Science Fiction Society, 1966) TUCK: "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2nd Edition", Donald H. Tuck (Hobart, Tasmania: Donald H. Tuck, 1959) VERSINS: "Encyclopedie des l'utopie, des voyages extraordinaires et de la science fiction", (Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 1972) WAGGONER: "The Hills of Faraway", Diana Waggoner (Athenaeum, 1978) WARNER: "All Our Yesterdays", Harry Warner, Jr. (Chicago: Advent, 1969) WELLS: "Fictional Accounts of Trips to the Moon", Lester G. Wells (Syracuse NY: Syracuse University Library, 1962) WILLIAMSON: "H.G. Wells: Critic of Progress", Jack Williamson (Baltimore: Mirage Press, 1973) WOLLHEIM: "The Universe Makers", Donald A. Wollheim (New York: Harper & Row, 1971)
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