A Brief History
On February 17, 1600, Italian polymath and philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in the Papal States of Rome for the crime of heresy.
Bruno had the nerve to believe in the Heliocentric model of the solar system as taught by Polish astronomer Copernicus, and that the stars in the sky were really distant suns that had their own planets. Further, Bruno opined that unlike the Catholic belief, not only was our Sun not the center of the universe, the universe is infinite and therefore could have no center.
As he was led to the stake, Bruno had the indignity of having a wooden vise applied to his tongue to prevent him from speaking!
Question for students (and subscribers): Who is your favorite historical astronomer? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Bruno, Giordano. On the Infinite, the Universe and the Worlds: Five Cosmological Dialogues. CreateSpace, 2014.
Repcheck, Jack. Copernicus’ Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began. Simon & Schuster, 2008.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Jastrow of a bronze relief by Ettore Ferrari (1845-1929) of the trial of Giordano Bruno by the Roman Inquisition, has been released into the public domain worldwide by the copyright holder of this work.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.