Giordano Bruno : biography

1548 - 07 February 1600

In Venice Giordano settled in the house of Mochenigo, who thought that he could master ‘magic art” with the help of Bruno and manage to have power, wealth and fame. Mochenigo generously supplied his teacher with money, but made high demands for him, suspecting that Bruno intentionally concealed secret and main knowledge from his pupil. Giordano felt rather free in Venice, he didn’t conceal his views, as usually, and started to work under the big creation “Seven free arts” with great interest. But Mochenigo made more and more claims and finally the scientist was tired of it. He announced to the pupil that he would go to Frankfort to publish his new books. Mochenigo didn’t invent anything better than to advise with his confessor and write three peaces of information, condemning Bruno. In May of 1592 inquisition arrested Giordano Bruno. But an aristocrat Morozini, booksellers Bertano and Chotto and a monk da Nochera were called to the tribunal as witnesses. These people gave evidence in Bruno’s favour, and Bruno himself had a clear and successive position, confirming that he wasn’t a reformer of the church. Mochenigo could not prove his accusations in blasphemy and vicious statements about hrist, and there were no witnesses.

But Bruno didn’t want to conceal his doubts in a dogma about three parts of God and interpretation of Christ as a God-Man from inquisitors. He defended his view about existence of huge number of worlds in space and an endless eternal universe. On the 20th of July the next session took part, and Bruno promised to improve and even make amends for everything he had done before. The process in Venice finished and signed papers were sent to Vatican. In Rome after investigation of accusation and witnesses’ statements they decided to call Giordano Bruno for additional investigation and court.

During the investigation in Rome in summer of 1593 Giordano Bruno’s cellmate, Celestino, trying to ward off the flame of inquisitorial fire from himself, wrote information against the scientist. Other Bruno’s cellmates were called to trial and they confirmed Bruno’s philosophic thoughts, described in this information. Their testimonies seriously worsened the scientist’s situation. Bruno was subjected to tortures to make points of accusation more precise.

This process wasn’t the longest in the history of inquisition, but more than seven years passed since Giordano Bruno’s arrest. The main claim to him was a demand to repent. The whole commission of authoritative theologians and censors studied Bruno’s books in search of thoughts, contradicting with Catholic faith. In 1599 the head of investigation changed, and this place was occupied by a well-educated theologian, cardinal and Jesuit Roberto Bellarmino. In January he showed eight main heretical points of accusation. In fact the scientist had the choice – to be burnt on fire or to spend many years in a far monastery after renunciation. In summer Bellarmino announced to the tribunal that Giordano Bruno had admitted that several points of accusation were true. But Bruno, called to the tribunal, continued to insist on his rightness.

In September they told the scientist that he had forty days to confess and admit that he was guilty. But on the December tribunal Bruno again said that he was innocent and didn’t want to renounce his thoughts. His sentence was announced on the 8th of February in 1600 on the session of tribunal in the palace of a famous cardinal Madruzzi. Not only highest prelates of catholic church, but also quests from Rome’s elite were present. Bruno was deprived of the priest’s status and excommunicated. After that he was passed to temporal power to conduct “merciful punishment without bloodshed”. It meant the death on fire. According to the legend, Giordano Bruno told them that they had announced the sentence with stronger fear than he listened to it.

Giordano Bruno’s execution took place on the 17th of February in 1600 on the Roman square of Flowers. After three hundred years after the great scientist’s burning, in 1889 on this place a monument to the person, who dared to contradict the saint inquisition, was raised.

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Living octopus

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