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To start with: was Copernicus a German?

Mikołaj Kopernik Sr. was registered as copper wholesaler in Kraków for the trade with Gdańsk. He befriended the first Cardinal to have been born in Poland, Bishop Zbigniew Oleśnicki (1389-1455), who as primate of Poland acted also as chancellor and chief of diplomacy. Oleśnicki nominated Mikołaj Kopernik Sr. to be the envoy of Poland for negotiations with the Prussian estates for the unification of Prussia with Poland. For this purpose Mikołaj Kopernik Sr. moved from Kraków to Toruń in 1458, where fourteen years later was born Mikołaj Kopernik Jr. the father of modern astronomy.
It is worth mentioning that in 1525 the Polish parliament, known as the Seym, accepted the secularization of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Order, committing a political blunder by not evicting from Prussia the remnants of the Teutonic Order. The year of 1525 started one hundred and sixteen years long series of homages to Poland (1525-1641) paid out of the Polish fief of Prussia by the Hohenzollerns, who delivered their payment kneeling before the Polish throne (among the homage payers were ancestors of the future emperors of Germany in 1871-1918). Thus, Albrecht von Hohenzollern (1490-1568) paid the first act of homage to Poland in the market of Kraków and recognized the suzerainty of the Polish king over Prussia; it was the first pact in Europe, torn by religious conflicts, between a Catholic king and a Protestant vassal duke.
Copernican revolution: Mikołaj Kopernik Jr. was among the Polish native leaders of that period. Known as Nicolas Copernicus (1472-1543), in Polish Miko³aj Kopernik (mee-ko-wahy ko-per-ñeek), he was the father of modern astronomy. His alma mater, the University of Kraków, Poland, had an excellent college of astronomy, then the best in Europe. 44% of its students were foreigners. At that time Poland was the most tolerant and free country on the European continent. There, Copernicus discovered the structure of the solar system. Nicolaus Copernicus conceived his heliocentric astronomical theory about 1504. The Copernican calendar was proven to be accurate within two minutes of the correct year’s length - an amazing accuracy considering the condition of European science in early 16th century. [Wojciech of Brudzewo (1445-1497), Copernicus’ professor of astronomy at the University of Kraków was the first to question Earth's central location in the solar system.]
Copernican heliocentric theory was circulated in his Commentariolus in 1510 and published in 1543 in De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium stating that earth rotates daily on its axis and that planets revolve in orbits around the sun. [In 1613, seventy years later, Galileo (1564-1642) repeated and confirmed the Copernican theory.]

Copernicus ordered the world’s first epidemiological survey and initiated the buttering of bread. During the German siege of the Mazurian fortress of Olsztyn (1519-1521), while serving as a commanding officer, Copernicus successfully combated an epidemic by designing he world’s first epidemiological study which found that bread was the vector. He ordered that all loaves of bread be coated with butter at bakeries so that foreign matter, accumulated during delivery, could be readily detected and discarded. The plague was checked. This event is known in the history of medicine as the inception of bread-buttering by Nicolas Copernicus.
It might surprise Otward Mueller that in 1523 there were very favorable opinions about Poland. In 1523 Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), great Catholic theologian, impressed by Polish achievements wrote about Poland: “I congratulate this nation ... which now, in sciences, jurisprudence, morals, and religion, and in all that separates us from barbarism, is so flourishing that it can rival the first and most glorious of nations.” That occured even before the publication of the basic work on astronomy: De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium
In 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik 1473-1543) published his astronomical theory in De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. It was approved by the Catholic Church, while Luther and Calvin condemned the Copernican theory. The Catholic Church encouraged the publication of the Copernican Theory of Astronomy in 1536 after studying it since 1533, however, eighty six years later the Church placed Copernican works on the index of forbidden books in (1616-1828), while making an uninterrupted use of the Copernican calender. Copernicus moved the leadership of philosophical thought of the western civilization from the Mediterranean basin into the northern middle ground of Europe. The philosophical implications of the great Copernican discoveries were fundamental. The idea that the Earth is a stationary and flat central area in the universe, on which the human drama of personal salvation goes on without privacy under the eyes of God and his angels, was shaken irreparably. Eventually it became apparent that life on earth is a thin surface-effect on a minor celestial body traveling through cosmic space at a high speed.
The age-old human yearning for safety and stability was destroyed by the realization that the Earth is not immovable or the largest celestial body, central in the cosmos. The Copernican universe brought home, as no other idea in the history of the human thought, the frightening realization that all existence is in a permanent flux of ever-changing and ever-becoming
Copernican Monetary Reform of 1526: the złoty as the basic unit of currency and the fundamental Copernican Law of Currency: “Bad money chases good money out of circulation”
Copernicus, a true Renaissance man, served in many capacities. He was an administrator of Warmia on the Baltic in northern Poland, a military commander, and a finance minister; he was a trained astronomer, mathematician, economist, lawyer, and medical doctor. Copernicus published in 1526 the Monetae Cudende Ratio on monetary reform and stabilization of currency. There he stated the law of currency that “the bad money drives the good money out of circulation.” At that time Thomas Gresham (1519-1579) was seven years old. Copernicus was then combating fraudulent schemes by the German House of Hohenzollerns, who were minting debased Polish currency, and tampering with the Vistula River grain trade. Copernicus was acting as Poland’s finance minister and served on the legislative committee for the reform of Polish currency, The Copernican Act of Monetary Reform in Poland (1526)
introduced a system based on the Polish unit złoty (zwo-ti) meaning golden coin; red złoty or dukat equaled 3.5 grams of gold. The Polish monetary system was adopted in Prussia in 1528 and in Lithuania in 1569 (at the time of the founding of the Noble Republic of Poland-Lithuania at the Seym of Lublin).

12 sierpień 2010

Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski 




Yes, everything indicates that Copernicus was Polish; not only by birth but by his own choice. Both his education and employment prove that. Moreover, voluntary services he rendered to Polish authorities risking his life at a time are the best evidence of his national identity.

I would object, however, that the denial of his Polish nationality is particularly related to (Neo) Nazi political orientation.

Blaming Nazis for any wrongdoings against Poland happens to be the canon of Jewish policy after the Second World War.

Adolf Hitler was by far less anti-Polish than Otto von Bismarck.



Jakkolwiek genetycznie Kopernik nie byl Slowianinem, na co wskazuja wyniki badania chromosomu Y u odkrytego ostatnio szkieletu Kopernika. Slowian charakteryzuje haplotyp R1a, podczas gdy u Kopernika zidentyfikowano R1b, ktory przewaza w Europie Zachodniej (nie tylko w Niemczech). W uproszczeniu mozna powiedziec ze R1a to pieczatka aryjska, a R1b celtycka. Niemcy zwykli kiedys przyznawac sie do swego "nordyckiego" pochodzenia (czyli do gotyckiego genu I, jak to dzis sklasyfikowala nauka), ktory jednakze jest aktualnie dosc rzadki w Europie. W Niemczech stanowi ponizej 20%, w Polsce jakies 12%, a najwiecej jest go "niespodziewanie" na Sardyni i w Bosni-Hercegowinie (ponad 40%). Kanclerz AH najprawdopodobniej mylil rase nordycka z aryjska. Prawda natomiast jest okrutna i to Slowianie sa bardziej "aryjscy" niz Niemcy.



Latarnik seems to put in doubt Polish roots of Copernicus. Even if his view is supported by a new evidence stemming from genetics (no link enclosed), that doesn't change the fact that Copernicus was Polish by choice.
And the opinion of Copernicus himself counts the most...



Nie kwestionuje polskosci Kopernika. Przeciez nie mozna wymagac zeby Polak byl genetycznie 100% Slowianinem. Badania genetyczne Kopernika byly przeprowadzone w zeszlym roku przez polskich naukowcow. Link jest tu:



Kwestia "polskosci" czy "niemieckosci" Kopernika to pikus przy problemie jaki maja mieszkancy mowiacej jezykiem slowianskim Macedoni, dzis oficjalnie (przez ONZ) nazywanej FYROM. Maja oni prawo przyznawac sie do starozytnej Macedonii, czy nie? Wydaje sie ze wspolczesna genetyka rozwiazala ten problem. Roznica tkwi w jezykach jakimi posluguja sie Macedonczycy, a nie w genach. Mieszkancy dzisiejszego FYROM zaadoptowali kiedys jezyk slowianski, w przeciwienstwie do mieszkancow greckiej czesci Macedonii.

Interestingly, the Slavs of FYROM have an R-M458 frequency of 3.8%, barely different from that of Greeks at large, suggesting that (i) the claims of some Greek nationalists that they Slavs of FYROM are newcomers to the Balkans are wrong, just as (ii) the claim of some FYROMian nationalists that they are markedly different from Greeks are wrong. The actual truth is that the Slavs of FYROM are largely of old Balkan (pre-Slavic) stock who adopted a non-Balkan Slavic language, just as the modern Turks are largely of old Anatolian (pre-Turkish) stock who adopted a non-Anatolian Turkic language.



Copernicus's family (on both sides) came from the German-speaking patrician class which opted (presumably for financial reasons) for the Polish crown after the Battle of Grunwald. The semi-independent towns of Royal Prussia, in which Copernicus spent his life, were German speaking, as indeed was Krakow at the time (viz. Wit Stwosz). Copernicus' circle of professional and family contacts was German speaking. All this points incontrovertibly to the conclusion that Copernicus' mother tongue was German. Contact with the Polish crown was probably in Latin. Although the concept of nationality was definitely more fluid at the time, if we put this into a modern context we would say that Copernicus was a German-speaking Polish national.



Re Angol and latarnik:

Torun during the 1450s was already roughly 40% Polish-speaking (with roughly 25% Polish-speakers among the patricians) - according to Krzysztof Mikulski's book Cracow at its peak was 30% German-speaking (and 70% Polish-speaking), but that peak was during the early 1300s - not during the mid-1450s. The number of German-speakers in Cracow was reduced already in year 1312 (after the crushing of the rebellion of local Germans by Władysław Łokietek), and later continued to decrease due to gradual Polonization (or perhaps Re-Polonization in some cases). Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss) was indeed originally a German-speaking person, but remember that he was born in Horb am Neckar near Stuttgart, not in Cracow and not even in Poland. He was - unlike the Kopernik family - an immigrant, not a person born in Poland. It should be noted that when Veit Stoss returned to Germany by the end of his life (he died in Nurnberg in 1533) he was already called "Polnisch" by local Germans, which indicates that he became Polonized while living for many years in Poland.

In 1312 after the crushing of the rebellion of Germans in Cracow (1311 - 1312), loyalty was checked by a language test. As Norman Davies wrote:

"(...) A revolt by the Germans of Cracow, headed by one Albert, and by Bishop Jan Muskata, who thought of returning to their earlier Bohemian allegiance, was suppressed after a year-long siege [1311 - 1312]. (...) Investigations into the Cracovian revolt were assisted by a simple language test. Any suspect who could repeat and correctly pronounce "soczewica", "koło", "miele", "młyn" was judged loyal; he who faltered was guilty. (...) The Archbishop of Gniezno, Jakub Swinka, brought Bishop Muskata, the "enemy of the Polish people", before an ecclesiastical court. He excommunicated [in 1285] the prince of Głogów, who "was turning Silesia into a new Saxony" and had resigned his claim to Pomerania in favour of the Teutonic Order. (...)"

As for Kopernik's haplogroup - it was R1b, but it was not the Western European R1b. Remember that R1b can be found not only in Europe, but also outside of Europe (from where it originally came from). Kopernik's subclade (subgroup / variant of a haplogroup) is a Middle Eastern one, not a Western European one. This is according to Peter Gwozdz (see the scan below):

Kopernik subclade is R1b-L23 and this map shows its modern distribution and frequency:

As you can see this subclade (variant) is more frequent today in Southern Poland than in Germany.

By comparison here is a map showing distribution of R1b in all of its variants:

So Kopernik's haplogroup - contrary to what has been claimed above - is not a Western European one, but a one typical for Anatolia, Southern Caucasus and the Middle East.

Here I wrote something more about this (as well as about distribution of surname "Kopernik" today):

Chart showing the distribution of "Kopernik" and related surnames today:

I made this chart basing on / databases:

Best regards,




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