Giordano Bruno is considered by many to be a martyr for science and by many more to be a martyr for free thought. Bruno was born in the town of Nola, located near Naples, Italy, in 1548. He was an outspoken youth and eventually became an outspoken Dominican monk. During his tenure as a Dominican, it was suggested that he had read some of the "forbidden works" of Desiderius Erasmus, and along with his unorthodox views of Christianity, this prompted the Catholic Church to issue an indictment of heresy against Bruno in 1578. On learning the indictment was imminent, Bruno fled to France, beginning a life as an intellectual nomad...continue
"Bruno was kept in imprisoned for over six years, without any writing materials and without an explanation for the delay in his trial. In January, 1600, he was handed over to the Grand Inquisitor, was convicted, and turned over to the secular authorities who were required to carry out the sentence imposed by the Inquisition..
The decree was that Bruno was " ...to be punished with due chastisement; beseeching you, however as we earnestly beseech you, so to mitigate the severity of your sentence with respect to the body that there be no danger of death or of the shedding of blood...", in other words, Bruno was to be burnt at the stake by the Governor of Rome. The Inquisition commonly handed over it's victims to the secular authorities to handle. On February 17, 1600, Bruno was led to Campo de Fiori, where he was burned at the stake, amongst the crowds visiting Rome for the Jubilee Year."
From the Catholic Encyclopedia
His attitude of mind towards religious truth was that of a rationalist. Personally, he failed to feel any of the vital significance of Christianity as a religious system. It was not a Roman Inquisitor, but a Protestant divine, who said of him that he was "a man of great capacity, with infinite knowledge, but not a trace of religion."
Bruno was not condemned for his defense of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors, among which were the following: that Christ was not God but merely an unusually skillful magician, that the Holy Ghost is the soul of the world, that the Devil will be saved, etc.Note From Me
- Traditionally in iconography, the cross held in a saint's hand symbolizes martyrdom. In this case, I have put a cross in Bruno's hand but upside-down to represent his martyrdom as a result of his opposition to the church and it's teachings. The book is representative of his many works. The particular images on the book are actual woodcuts taken from Bruno's, "Articuli centum et sexaginta adversus huius tempestatis mathematicos atque philosophos."
This will soon be auctioned off as a signed canvas print to help raise money for the American Humanist Association
of which I am a member. Check back soon for details.