When planet Earth remained static

Posted October 7th, 2007

The earth is static, and the sun, moon, and stars revolve around it. This geocentric model of the universe, which held sway from the days of Classical Greece until the 17th century, was promoted in European culture by one of my distant ancestors known as Libertus Fromundus (1587-1653), Doctor of Theology at Louvain University.

Fromundus (or Fromondus) was the brother of Marie Libert, my Belgian great x 9 grandmother. He was a leading opponent of Galileo, who proposed the heliocentric model of the universe that is accepted today. In justifying his point of view, Fromundus famously reasoned that if the earth did indeed rotate as Galileo said it did, then “the wind would constantly blow from the east” and that “buildings and the earth itself would fly off with such a rapid motion that men would have to be provided with claws like cats to enable them to hold fast to the earth’s surface.”

Wrong though he was, Fromundus was a very clever man indeed. He existed eleven generations above mine, which according to my calculations means that, together with probably tens of thousands of other people, I share 1/4096 of his genes, or 0.025%. These figures allow for the fact that he was the brother of my direct ancestor.

The line to Fromondus

I’m not into genealogy but for the record, the branch of the tree in question goes as follows (direct line in green):

My Belgian mother‘s parents were Charles and Jeanne Wauters who married in 1908. Charles’s father, Fernand Wauters, married Victorine in 1879. Fernand’s father, Arsene Wauters, married Victorine Rigo in 1811. Victorine’s father, Jean Nicolas, married M de Froimont, year unknown. M de Froimont’s father, Jean Libert, married Marie Beatrice in 1781. Someone called Libert (Jean Libert’s father) married Marie in 1743. Jean married Libert’s mother, Agnes in 1709. Agnes’s father, Henri, married Jeanne Marie, year unknown. Henri’s father, also Henri, married Marie, year unknown. Henri married Marie, Henri’s mother, year unknown. This Marie was the sister of Fromundus, whose real name was Libert Froimont. The parents of Marie and Libert were Gerard Libert and Marguerite Froimont, and Gerard’s parents were Libert Froimont, his father, and Marie Birtout, thirteen generations above mine.