Tycho de Brahe - How the truth can be stranger than fiction

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Not the most well known of people, but he should be. This guy is king freak. A Danish astronomer circa 15 century [He was born in 1546 ] Nothing was ever simple for De Brahe, for starters his sterile uncle kidnapped him as a child, his uncle later died from pneumonia after saving Fredrick II from drowning. It was miracle that De Brahe even survived his childhood.

After seeing a supernova as a child, De Brahe became obsessed with star gazing, so deep was his obsession that he was the first person to take continuous readings of the stars positions. If it wasn't for this, the discovery that the earth was not the centre of the universe would have taken a lot longer, this was his main acheivement and he helped pave the way for people like Galileo and Copernicus to alter the way we look at the world.

A bit of a party guy, he looked crazier than the 15th century could handle. He lost a substantial chunk of his nose after a duelling accident [The duel was to settle an argument about who was the best mathematician]. An artificial nose made out of an alloy of gold and silver replaced his injured organ. Every day he had to smear a strangely smelling balm to stop his nose from drying out. Fredrick II even gave him his own Island [called Sorcery island] this is where the real fun began.

On the island De Brahe had a whole host of strange and wonderful things, including his own private prison [where he often locked people who had displeased him] and a pharmacy.

The only thing that he didn't have on the Island, was his tame elk. De Brahe was heartbroken to discover that his elk had died after gaining access to a large amount of strong beer [there wasn't an elk bar on the island, someone had left barrels of beer unattended ]. Apparently the elk had gotten so drunk that it collapsed and broke it's legs. Quite why De Brahe had a tame elk [never mind where he got it from] is a different matter. A boozed crazed elk intent on destruction [or a kebab] must have been a hell of a sight.

De Brahe even had a dwarf called Jepp as a part of his crew. Jepp was reputed to have the ability to see through time, and often amused courtiers with his bizarre predictions. De Brahe was in the habit of throwing food to the constantly chattering dwarf.

De Brahe died in unusual circumstances, and infection of the bladder [ he couldn't urinate for a week before his death ] and on his deathbed he repeated the same line over and over.

Ne frustra vixisse videar -

" May I not have lived in vain "

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