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Mark Welser


Mark Welser, born in Augsburg in 1558, went to Padua when he was very young and completed his studies there. He spent periods in France and Germany, with long sojourns in Italy, where he learned the language so well that he was invited to become a member of the Academy of Crusca in 1613. He was a banker and an important politician, and became Chief Councilor of Augsburg in 1611. During his whole life he maintained contacts with many exponents of European culture, and though close to the positions of the Jesuits, he nonetheless showed an openness to Galileo's ideas and a willingness to be convinced by Clavius (1538-16129) of the validity of the Medicean Planets. He played a central role in the controversy over the sunspots, which pitted Galileo against Christoph Scheiner (1573-1650), both of whom in fact sent him letters on the subject. Mark Welser died in 1614, after suffering the economic hardships that beset him in the last years of his life.