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The Allegory of War in Johannes Kepler's Astronomia Nova

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In the dedicatory letter to Rudolf II that opens his work Astronomia Nova Kepler presents an allegory of war. Taking as its premise that the Habsburg emperor was his specific audience and that the rhetorical guidelines were provided by Melanchthon's Elementorum rhetorices and Crusius' Scholia and Quaestiones, this paper will offer an interpretation of the allegory and discuss the thesis that Kepler's aim, in representing astronomy as war, was to explain his vision of the role of the court astronomer, setting it apart from the traditional roles of the court astrologer and the court artist. This will be explored beginning with an analysis of Kepler's use of rhetoric, based on his training in the methods of Philipp Melanchthon, and will go on to discuss Kepler's allegory in its cultural and political context, and finally examine it from the rhetorical and conceptual points of view.


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