Giordano Bruno


Giordano Bruno : biography

1548 – 07 February 1600

Bruno didn’t find use of his proofreader’s abilities in Lyons and went to Toulouse. He met a Portuguese philosopher Sanches, who presented him his book “About things we don’t know”. Giordano Bruno passed a competition, became an ordinary professor and started to read philosophic lectures. But the Toulousian University’s regulations told that a teacher should teach exactly on Aristotle’s doctrine, and Bruno not only developed, but also read his new philosophic system. Teachers didn’t forgive him speeches against scholastics and drove him out.

In summer of 1581 Giordano Bruno went to Paris. He got a place in a famous university – Sorbonne, but this nest of freethinking with excellent teaching of astronomy and mathematics had already turned into a patrimony of theological department. When Bruno started to read a cycle of leactures, he announced beforehand, that the topic would be “thirty attributes of God”. Very brave statements, that were said by Giordano Bruno during the lectures, made him famous. Students claimed that Bruno talked too fast and they hardly managed to write after him. Nevertheless, the audience was always full. Students were especially surprised with the fact that the professor didn’t read lectures, but thought aloud and dictated his thoughts.

The books he published in Paris, were written much earlier, and one of his earliest works, which have reached our days, is “Treatise about shadows of ideas”. In fact it was explanation and description of theses of so-called Nola philosophy. Besides this book, Giordano Bruno’s other works, devoted to a reform of logics and art of memory, were also published. The fame of a brave professor spread. And unusual abilities of Giordano Bruno, his amazing memory astonished even the king. Bruno devoted one book to the French king. He started to enter elite circles of Paris society owing to his erudition, courtliness and wit. His knowledge was beyond competition, and besides he knew Italian, French and Spanish.

But such a pleasant life didn’t last for long. By spring of 1538 reactionary catholic groups suddenly strengthened their positions in the royal court and scientific circles of Paris. Bruno suffered from attacks and had to left France and go to England. He took recommendation letters from the king for a French ambassador. Bruno spent one year and a half in England and considered this time the most wonderful in his life. The French ambassador, a former warrior, who became a big political figure, was an ardent enemy of religious fanaticism and a convinced supporter of toleration. He settled Giordano Bruno in his own house, and the scientist could devote himself to work without thinking about money.

Bruno conquered with his courtliness not only the ambassador’s wife, but his daughter too – he also won the queen’s favour, he called her “Diana among nymphs of North”. And the queen’s benevolence was so high, that Bruno had the right to enter her office without a report. But Bruno thought that philosophy was higher than love to any woman.

Giordano Bruno met a translator and poet John Florio and his friends, young English aristocrats, in the English capital. Bruno’s circle of acquaintances also included the chancellor of Oxford, Elizabeth’s favourite Robert Dudley, and it allowed the scientist to read his lectures in a famous university. But gradually Bruno’s lectures started to arouse irritation of zealous followers of Aristotle’s philosophy, and in June of 1583 on the philosophical public debate Giordano Bruno defended Copernicus’ “heliocentrism” so furiously, that quarreled with Laskin, a respectful Polish aristocrat. During the argument Bruno gave fifteen syllogisms without any problem and fifteen times put the respectful doctor in a mess… In spite of the fact that nobody could disprove Bruno’s ideas in the open argument, he was forbidden to read lectures o students, and after publishing of a Latin treatise “Seal of seals” a London printer John Charlywood arranged with the disgraced professor that he would print false imprints on his editions.