The eminent French historian Fernand Barudel pointed out in his works about the
Med that one would need for understanding of activites of an individual a wide context
created by the social space and environment in which the main hero tends to live in. For
Braudel became Philippe 2nd only a pretence to analyse the whole civilisation of the Med
in his times. This context can be employed on the man of letters, a loner, spending the
most of his life in his astronomical observatory – Nicolaus Copernicus.
Unquestionably, the social environment of Thorn exerted the biggest influence on
the formation of the young Copernicus. The city was located on the lower Vistula, on the
boarder of the state of Teutonic Knights and Poland, with strong relationships with Silesia,
Cracow and Hansa and over Hansa with Northern Europe. This location created
extraordinary circumstances for the formation of the one of the biggest intellects of his
This cultural mosaic was the native environment of Nicolaus Copernicus, a German-
speaking Pole, on the maternal side a descendant of immigrants from Westphalia,
on the paternal side of Silesian Copernicus-family with Slavic roots, from his birth to his
death the faithful subject of the Polish kings.