Nicky was an Ermländer!

At a simple prop John Lynch also noted the intention to name element #112 Copernicium and in doing so added the following cynical commentary.

An edit-war is expected to breakout on Wikipedia about whether this is a German or Polish element.

Now the Wikipedia wars about the nationality of Copernicus have past into the realm of legends but if the people would only bother to do their history they would know its all a waste of time and effort Nicolas was not German and he was also not Polish, he was an Ermländer!

Ermland (Latin Warmia) where Copernicus lived and worked nearly all of his life, except for the time he spent at university, was a province of East Prussia. During the whole of Copernicus’ life Ermland was a quasi-sovereign state ruled by the Prince Bishop Of Frauenburg, a position held by Copernicus’ uncle Lukas Watzenrode from 1492 to his death in 1512. The province was governed by the Canons of the Cathedral one of whom was Copernicus. Ermland enjoyed a strange political status during this period as the result of the wars between the Order of the Teutonic Knights and Poland. The province stood under the protection of and owed feudal allegiance to the Polish Crown but was not part of Poland. At the same time whilst not part of the German East Prussia it had rights of representation at the Prussian Tag that is its annual parliament.

Next time somebody tries to argue with you about Copernicus’ nationality you now know that all you need to say is “Nicky was an Ermländer”!


Filed under History of Astronomy, Myths of Science, Renaissance Science

9 responses to “Nicky was an Ermländer!

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  2. Phillip Helbig

    What language(s) did he speak? What was his first language? What was the one he used most often?

  3. Copernicus’ mother tongue was German and he at least read and wrote both Greek and Latin. I have seen sources that claim he also spoke Polish but none of them give any sort of proof or evidence for this claim, although it’s more than probable that he did. Both of his parent were also German speakers.

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  9. Howard Kiernan

    Interesting to learn that the great Copernicus actually co-ruled the little country of Ermland and only did astronomy in his spare time, being very busy doing a lot of the work of government of the time collecting feudal rents from the bishop’s tenants, and even running the local brewery and bakery.

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