Eleven Years Before the Publicized announcement
A World Map Depicts
The Earth Rotating
on its Axis
[Grynaeus - but published anonymously]
The true importance of this map lies beyond mere geographic novelties. Though geographically dated, it introduces a radical new concept in the understanding of the earth's nature and its place in the cosmos. While prevailing theory placed the earth at the center of the universe with the cosmos orbiting around it, here the earth is shown rotating on an axis, illustrated by cherubs at either pole turning the planet around with cranks. As this clear reference to axis rotation precedes the publication of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Coelestium by eleven years, the map's author must have learned about Copernicus' principals either orally, as they were shared by word of mouth for two decades prior to the publication of the book, or from one of the copies of his brief manuscript work Commentariolus*, which Copernicus is known to have circulated among selected friends by 1529.
* Copernican theory regarding the workings of the universe so challenged Church doctrine that it was first circulated in brief manuscript form. It was not until Copernicus was near death, in 1543, that De Revolutionibus Coelestium was published.