Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Giordano Bruno

Celestial Proportions IV by Tallmadge Doyle

Giordano Bruno was born in Nola near Naples in 1548. His exceptional intellectual abilities were soon noticed and he entered into the Dominican Monastery in Naples where he studied, among other things, Aristotelian philosophy. When he began to postulate his own ideas of the Universe he came to the attention of the Inquisition in Naples and then in Rome. To avoid persecution he left Italy in 1576 to live in France, England, and Germany where he studied, taught, and published many books. 

During these years abroad Giordano Bruno studied the writings of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and others. He not only adhered to the Copernican view of a central sun but he believed that the stars were also suns lying at a tremendous distance from earth. He wrote, lectured, and passionately argued his ideas of the universe being infinite and vast and the possibility of an infinite number of worlds inhabited by intelligent beings. He spoke of God as being immeasurable and being present in all things. He was outspoken about his ideas of free thought and speech.

Monument to Giordano Bruno at the Campo dei Fiori in Rome

After returning to Italy in1591 he was soon arrested by the Inquisition and sent to Rome for trial. For eight years he was kept imprisoned, periodically interrogated and tortured. 

After receiving his final sentence of death he said: "Perhaps you my judges pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it." Refusing to recant a single word his tongue was pulled out by his executioners and he was burned at the stake in Compo dei Fiori in the middle of Rome on February 17, 1600. 


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