Born into Privilege

Raised as an only child, Tycho (pronounced "teeko," as it is in Latin) Brahe was born Tyge Brahe on December 14, 1546, at Knutstorps Castle in Skaane, Denmark (now in Sweden) as a twin. His twin, Niels Brahe, died at birth. Tycho was the firstborn son to his father, Otte Brahe, a distinguished nobleman who was governor of Helsingborg Castle and member of the Danish Rigsraad (elevated in 1563). The Rigsraad, or Council of the Realm, was made up of about 20 members whose courtly duties included appointing regents, declaring war and peace, seating kings and then advising them on nearly every matter. His mother, Beate Bille, was also of noble decent.

Tycho Brahe had strange (but not unusual for the time) circumstances surrounding his birth. His parents agreed before he was born to allow his adoption by Otte's brother, Jorgen Brahe, and his wife, Ingar Oxe, who were childless. When Tycho was born, however, his father changed his mind. This angered Jorgen and Ingar, for they had been promised a son. Two years later, Jorgen kidnapped Tycho. This infuriated Otte, but the brothers soon came to an agreement when Jorgen pointed out that Tycho would live like a prince, be well educated, and someday inherit Jorgen's estate. Otte agreed and Tycho became "nephew" to his own father and mother.

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