Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno (Italian: [dʒorˈdano ˈbruno]; Latin: Iordanus Brunus Nolanus; 1548 – 17 February 1600 CE), born Filippo Bruno, was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer. He is celebrated for his cosmological theories, which went even further than the then-novel Copernican model. He proposed that the stars were just distant suns surrounded by their own exoplanets and raised the possibility that these planets could even foster life of their own (a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism). He also insisted that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its "center".

Beginning in 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges including denial of several core Catholic doctrines (including the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and Transubstantiation). Bruno's pantheism was also a matter of grave concern. The Inquisition found him guilty, and in 1600 he was burned at the stake in Rome's Campo de' Fiori. After his death he gained considerable fame, being particularly celebrated by 19th- and early 20th-century commentators who regarded him as a martyr for science, although historians have debated the extent to which his heresy trial was a response to his astronomical views or to other aspects of his philosophy and theology. Bruno's case is still considered a landmark in the history of free thought and the emerging sciences.

In addition to cosmology, Bruno also wrote extensively on the art of memory, a loosely organized group of mnemonic techniques and principles. Historian Frances Yates argues that Bruno was deeply influenced by Arab astrology, Neoplatonism, Renaissance Hermeticism, and legends surrounding the Egyptian god Thoth. Other studies of Bruno have focused on his qualitative approach to mathematics and his application of the spatial concepts of geometry to language.

    Life

    Early years, 1548–1576

    Born Filippo Bruno in Nola (in Campania, then part of the Kingdom of Naples) in 1548, he was the son of Giovanni Bruno, a soldier, and Fraulissa Savolino. In his youth he was sent to Naples to be educated. He was tutored privately at the Augustinian monastery there, and attended public lectures at the Studium Generale. At the age of 17, he entered the Dominican Order at the monastery of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, taking the name Giordano, after Giordano Crispo, his metaphysics tutor. He continued his studies there, completing his novitiate, and became an ordained priest in 1572 at age 24. During his time in Naples he became known for his skill with the art of memory and on one occasion traveled to Rome to demonstrate his mnemonic system before Pope Pius V and Cardinal Rebiba. In his later years Bruno claimed that the Pope accepted his dedication to him of the lost work On The Ark of Noah at this time.

    While Bruno was distinguished for outstanding ability, his taste for free thinking and forbidden books soon caused him difficulties. Given the controversy he caused in later life it is surprising that he was able to remain within the monastic system for eleven years. In his testimony to Venetian inquisitors during his trial, many years later, he says that proceedings were twice taken against him for having cast away images of the saints, retaining only a crucifix, and for having recommended controversial texts to a novice. Such behavior could perhaps be overlooked, but Bruno's situation became much more serious when he was reported to have defended the Arian heresy, and when a copy of the banned writings of Erasmus, annotated by him, was discovered hidden in the convent privy. When he learned that an indictment was being prepared against him in Naples he fled, shedding his religious habit, at least for a time.

    First years of wandering, 1576–1583

    Bruno first went to the Genoese port of Noli, then to Savona, Turin and finally to Venice, where he published his lost work On the Signs of the Times with the permission (so he claimed at his trial) of the Dominican Remigio Nannini Fiorentino. From Venice he went to Padua, where he met fellow Dominicans who convinced him to wear his religious habit again. From Padua he went to Bergamo and then across the Alps to Chambéry and Lyon. His movements after this time are obscure.

    The earliest depiction of Bruno is an engraving published in 1715 in Germany, presumed based on a lost contemporary portrait.

    In 1579 he arrived in Geneva. As D.W. Singer, a Bruno biographer, notes, "The question has sometimes been raised as to whether Bruno became a Protestant, but it is intrinsically most unlikely that he accepted membership in Calvin's communion" During his Venetian trial he told inquisitors that while in Geneva he told the Marchese de Vico of Naples, who was notable for helping Italian refugees in Geneva, "I did not intend to adopt the religion of the city. I desired to stay there only that I might live at liberty and in security." Bruno had a pair of breeches made for himself, and the Marchese and others apparently made Bruno a gift of a sword, hat, cape and other necessities for dressing himself; in such clothing Bruno could no longer be recognized as a priest. Things apparently went well for Bruno for a time, as he entered his name in the Rector's Book of the University of Geneva in May 1579. But in keeping with his personality he could not long remain silent. In August he published an attack on the work of Antoine de la Faye, a distinguished professor. He and the printer were promptly arrested. Rather than apologizing, Bruno insisted on continuing to defend his publication. He was refused the right to take sacrament. Though this right was eventually restored, he left Geneva.

    He went to France, arriving first in Lyon, and thereafter settling for a time (1580–1581) in Toulouse, where he took his doctorate in theology and was elected by students to lecture in philosophy. It seems he also attempted at this time to return to Catholicism, but was denied absolution by the Jesuit priest he approached. When religious strife broke out in the summer of 1581, he moved to Paris. There he held a cycle of thirty lectures on theological topics and also began to gain fame for his prodigious memory. Bruno's feats of memory were based, at least in part, on his elaborate system of mnemonics, but some of his contemporaries found it easier to attribute them to magical powers. His talents attracted the benevolent attention of the king Henry III. The king summoned him to the court. Bruno subsequently reported

    "I got me such a name that King Henry III summoned me one day to discover from me if the memory which I possessed was natural or acquired by magic art. I satisfied him that it did not come from sorcery but from organised knowledge; and, following this, I got a book on memory printed, entitled The Shadows of Ideas, which I dedicated to His Majesty. Forthwith he gave me an Extraordinary Lectureship with a salary."

    In Paris Bruno enjoyed the protection of his powerful French patrons. During this period, he published several works on mnemonics, including De umbris idearum (On the Shadows of Ideas, 1582), Ars Memoriae (The Art of Memory, 1582), and Cantus Circaeus (Circe's Song, 1582). All of these were based on his mnemonic models of organised knowledge and experience, as opposed to the simplistic logic-based mnemonic techniques of Petrus Ramus then becoming popular. Bruno also published a comedy summarizing some of his philosophical positions, titled Il Candelaio (The Torchbearer, 1582). In the 16th century dedications were, as a rule, approved beforehand, and hence were a way of placing a work under the protection of an individual. Given that Bruno dedicated various works to the likes of King Henry III, Sir Philip Sidney, Michel de Castelnau (French Ambassador to England), and possibly Pope Pius V, it is apparent that this wanderer had risen sharply in status and moved in powerful circles.

    England, 1583–1585

    Woodcut illustration of one of Giordano Bruno's less complex mnemonic devices

    In April 1583, Bruno went to England with letters of recommendation from Henry III as a guest of the French ambassador, Michel de Castelnau. There he became acquainted with the poet Philip Sidney (to whom he dedicated two books) and other members of the Hermetic circle around John Dee, though there is no evidence that Bruno ever met Dee himself. He also lectured at Oxford, and unsuccessfully sought a teaching position there. His views were controversial, notably with John Underhill, Rector of Lincoln College and subsequently bishop of Oxford, and George Abbot, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. Abbot mocked Bruno for supporting "the opinion of Copernicus that the earth did go round, and the heavens did stand still; whereas in truth it was his own head which rather did run round, and his brains did not stand still", and reports accusations that Bruno plagiarized Ficino's work.

    Nevertheless, his stay in England was fruitful. During that time Bruno completed and published some of his most important works, the six "Italian Dialogues," including the cosmological tracts La Cena de le Ceneri (The Ash Wednesday Supper, 1584), De la Causa, Principio et Uno (On Cause, Principle and Unity, 1584), De l'Infinito, Universo e Mondi (On the Infinite, Universe and Worlds, 1584) as well as Lo Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfante (The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, 1584) and De gl' Heroici Furori (On the Heroic Frenzies, 1585). Some of these were printed by John Charlewood. Some of the works that Bruno published in London, notably The Ash Wednesday Supper, appear to have given offense. Once again, Bruno's controversial views and tactless language lost him the support of his friends. John Bossy has advanced the theory that, while staying in the French Embassy in London, Bruno was also spying on Catholic conspirators, under the pseudonym 'Henry Fagot', for Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State.

    Bruno is sometimes cited as being the first to propose that the universe is infinite, which he did during his time in England, but an English scientist, Thomas Digges, put forth this idea in a published work in 1576, some eight years earlier than Bruno.

    Last years of wandering, 1585–1592

    In October 1585, after the French embassy in London was attacked by a mob, Bruno returned to Paris with Castelnau, finding a tense political situation. Moreover, his 120 theses against Aristotelian natural science and his pamphlets against the mathematician Fabrizio Mordente soon put him in ill favor. In 1586, following a violent quarrel about Mordente's invention, the , he left France for Germany.

    Woodcut from "Articuli centum et sexaginta adversus huius tempestatis mathematicos atque philosophos," Prague 1588

    In Germany he failed to obtain a teaching position at Marburg, but was granted permission to teach at Wittenberg, where he lectured on Aristotle for two years. However, with a change of intellectual climate there, he was no longer welcome, and went in 1588 to Prague, where he obtained 300 taler from Rudolf II, but no teaching position. He went on to serve briefly as a professor in Helmstedt, but had to flee again when he was excommunicated by the Lutherans.

    During this period he produced several Latin works, dictated to his friend and secretary Girolamo Besler, including De Magia (On Magic), Theses De Magia (Theses On Magic) and De Vinculis In Genere (A General Account of Bonding). All these were apparently transcribed or recorded by Besler (or Bisler) between 1589 and 1590. He also published De Imaginum, Signorum, Et Idearum Compositione (On The Composition of Images, Signs and Ideas, 1591).

    In 1591 he was in Frankfurt. Apparently, during the Frankfurt Book Fair,[] he received an invitation to Venice from the patrician Giovanni Mocenigo, who wished to be instructed in the art of memory, and also heard of a vacant chair in mathematics at the University of Padua. At the time the Inquisition seemed to be losing some of its strictness, and because Venice was the most liberal state in Italy, Bruno was lulled into making the fatal mistake of returning to Italy.

    He went first to Padua, where he taught briefly, and applied unsuccessfully for the chair of mathematics, which was given instead to Galileo Galilei one year later. Bruno accepted Mocenigo's invitation and moved to Venice in March 1592. For about two months he served as an in-house tutor to Mocenigo. When Bruno announced his plan to leave Venice to his host, the latter, who was unhappy with the teachings he had received and had apparently come to dislike Bruno, denounced him to the Venetian Inquisition, which had Bruno arrested on 22 May 1592. Among the numerous charges of blasphemy and heresy brought against him in Venice, based on Mocenigo's denunciation, was his belief in the plurality of worlds, as well as accusations of personal misconduct. Bruno defended himself skillfully, stressing the philosophical character of some of his positions, denying others and admitting that he had had doubts on some matters of dogma. The Roman Inquisition, however, asked for his transfer to Rome. After several months of argument, the Venetian authorities reluctantly consented and Bruno was sent to Rome in February 1593.

    Imprisonment, trial and execution, 1593–1600

    During the seven years of his trial in Rome, Bruno was held in confinement, lastly in the Tower of Nona. Some important documents about the trial are lost, but others have been preserved, among them a summary of the proceedings that was rediscovered in 1940. The numerous charges against Bruno, based on some of his books as well as on witness accounts, included blasphemy, immoral conduct, and heresy in matters of dogmatic theology, and involved some of the basic doctrines of his philosophy and cosmology. Luigi Firpo lists these charges made against Bruno by the Roman Inquisition:

    • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith and speaking against it and its ministers;
    • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith about the Trinity, divinity of Christ, and Incarnation;
    • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith pertaining to Jesus as Christ;
    • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith regarding the virginity of Mary, mother of Jesus;
    • holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith about both Transubstantiation and Mass;
    • claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity;
    • believing in metempsychosis and in the transmigration of the human soul into brutes;
    • dealing in magics and divination.
    The trial of Giordano Bruno by the Roman Inquisition. Bronze relief by Ettore Ferrari, Campo de' Fiori, Rome.

    Bruno defended himself as he had in Venice, insisting that he accepted the Church's dogmatic teachings, but trying to preserve the basis of his philosophy. In particular, he held firm to his belief in the plurality of worlds, although he was admonished to abandon it. His trial was overseen by the Inquisitor Cardinal Bellarmine, who demanded a full recantation, which Bruno eventually refused. On 20 January 1600, Pope Clement VIII declared Bruno a heretic and the Inquisition issued a sentence of death. According to the correspondence of Gaspar Schopp of Breslau, he is said to have made a threatening gesture towards his judges and to have replied: Maiori forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam ("Perhaps you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it").

    He was turned over to the secular authorities. On 17 February 1600, in the Campo de' Fiori (a central Roman market square), with his "tongue imprisoned because of his wicked words", he was burned at the stake. His ashes were thrown into the Tiber river. All of Bruno's works were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1603. Inquisition cardinals who judged Giordano Bruno were: Cardinal Bellarmino (Bellarmine), Cardinal Madruzzo (Madruzzi), Cardinal Camillo Borghese (later Pope Paul V), Domenico Cardinal Pinelli, Pompeio Cardinal Arrigoni, Cardinal Sfondrati, Pedro Cardinal De Deza Manuel, Cardinal Santorio (Archbishop of Santa Severina, Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina).[]

    Physical appearance

    The earliest likeness of Bruno is an engraving published in 1715 and cited by Salvestrini as "the only known portrait of Bruno". Salvestrini suggests that it is a re-engraving made from a now lost original. This engraving has provided the source for later images.

    The records of Bruno's imprisonment by the Venetian inquisition in May 1592 describe him as a man "of average height, with a hazel-coloured beard and the appearance of being about forty years of age". Alternately, a passage in a work by George Abbot indicates that Bruno was of diminutive stature: "When that Italian Didapper, who intituled himselfe Philotheus Iordanus Brunus Nolanus, magis elaborata Theologia Doctor, &c with a name longer than his body...". The word "didapper" used by Abbot is the derisive term which in period meant "a small diving waterfowl".

    Cosmology

    Contemporary cosmological beliefs

    Illuminated illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric conception of the universe. The outermost text reads "The heavenly empire, dwelling of God and all the selected"

    In the first half of the 15th century, Nicholas of Cusa challenged the then widely accepted philosophies of Aristotelianism, envisioning instead an infinite universe whose center was everywhere and circumference nowhere, and moreover teeming with countless stars. He also predicted that neither were the rotational orbits circular nor were their movements uniform.[]

    In the second half of the 16th century, the theories of Copernicus (1473–1543) began diffusing through Europe. Copernicus conserved the idea of planets fixed to solid spheres, but considered the apparent motion of the stars to be an illusion caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis; he also preserved the notion of an immobile center, but it was the Sun rather than the Earth. Copernicus also argued the Earth was a planet orbiting the Sun once every year. However he maintained the Ptolemaic hypothesis that the orbits of the planets were composed of perfect circles—deferents and epicycles—and that the stars were fixed on a stationary outer sphere.[]

    Despite the widespread publication of Copernicus' work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, during Bruno's time most educated Catholics subscribed to the Aristotelian geocentric view that the earth was the center of the universe, and that all heavenly bodies revolved around it. The ultimate limit of the universe was the primum mobile, whose diurnal rotation was conferred upon it by a transcendental God, not part of the universe (although, as the kingdom of heaven, adjacent to it), a motionless prime mover and first cause. The fixed stars were part of this celestial sphere, all at the same fixed distance from the immobile earth at the center of the sphere. Ptolemy had numbered these at 1,022, grouped into 48 constellations. The planets were each fixed to a transparent sphere.[]

    Few astronomers of Bruno's time accepted Copernicus's heliocentric model. Among those who did were the Germans Michael Maestlin (1550–1631), Christoph Rothmann, Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), the Englishman Thomas Digges, author of A Perfit Description of the Caelestial Orbes, and the Italian Galileo Galilei (1564–1642).

    Bruno's cosmological claims

    In 1584, Bruno published two important philosophical dialogues in which he argued against the planetary spheres (Christoph Rothmann did the same in 1586 as did Tycho Brahe in 1587). Bruno's infinite universe was filled with a substance—a "pure air," aether, or spiritus—that offered no resistance to the heavenly bodies which, in Bruno's view, rather than being fixed, moved under their own impetus (momentum). Most dramatically, he completely abandoned the idea of a hierarchical universe.[]

    The universe is then one, infinite, immobile.... It is not capable of comprehension and therefore is endless and limitless, and to that extent infinite and indeterminable, and consequently immobile.

    Bruno's cosmology distinguishes between "suns" which produce their own light and heat, and have other bodies moving around them; and "earths" which move around suns and receive light and heat from them. Bruno suggested that some, if not all, of the objects classically known as fixed stars are in fact suns. According to astrophysicist Steven Soter, he was the first person to grasp that "stars are other suns with their own planets."

    Bruno wrote that other worlds "have no less virtue nor a nature different to that of our earth" and, like Earth, "contain animals and inhabitants".

    During the late 16th century, and throughout the 17th century, Bruno's ideas were held up for ridicule, debate, or inspiration. Margaret Cavendish, for example, wrote an entire series of poems against "atoms" and "infinite worlds" in Poems and Fancies in 1664. Bruno's true, if partial, vindication would have to wait for the implications and impact of Newtonian cosmology.[]

    Bruno's overall contribution to the birth of modern science is still controversial. Some scholars follow Frances Yates stressing the importance of Bruno's ideas about the universe being infinite and lacking geocentric structure as a crucial crosspoint between the old and the new. Others see in Bruno's idea of multiple worlds instantiating the infinite possibilities of a pristine, indivisible One, a forerunner of Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    While most academics note Bruno's theological position as pantheism, physicist and philosopher Max Bernhard Weinstein in his Welt- und Lebensanschauungen, Hervorgegangen aus Religion, Philosophie und Naturerkenntnis ("World and Life Views, Emerging From Religion, Philosophy and Nature"), wrote that the theological model of pandeism was strongly expressed in the teachings of Bruno, especially with respect to the vision of a deity which had no particular relation to one part of the infinite universe more than any other, and was immanent, as present on Earth as in the Heavens, subsuming in itself the multiplicity of existence.

    Retrospective views of Bruno

    The monument to Bruno in the place he was executed, Campo de' Fiori in Rome.
    41°53′44.16″N 12°28′19.80″E / 41.8956000°N 12.4721667°E / 41.8956000; 12.4721667

    Late Vatican position

    The Vatican has published few official statements about Bruno's trial and execution. In 1942, Cardinal Giovanni Mercati, who discovered a number of lost documents relating to Bruno's trial, stated that the Church was perfectly justified in condemning him. On the 400th anniversary of Bruno's death, in 2000, Cardinal Angelo Sodano declared Bruno's death to be a "sad episode" but, despite his regret, he defended Bruno's prosecutors, maintaining that the Inquisitors "had the desire to serve freedom and promote the common good and did everything possible to save his life." In the same year, Pope John Paul II made a general apology for "the use of violence that some have committed in the service of truth..".

    A martyr of science

    Some authors have characterized Bruno as a "martyr of science," suggesting parallels with the Galileo affair which began around 1610. They assert that, even though Bruno's theological beliefs, or perceptions of them by others, were an important factor in his heresy trial, his Copernicanism and cosmological beliefs played a significant role in the outcome.[]

    "It should not be supposed", writes A. M. Paterson of Bruno and his "heliocentric solar system," that he "reached his conclusions via some mystical revelation....His work is an essential part of the scientific and philosophical developments that he initiated." Paterson echoes Hegel in writing that Bruno "ushers in a modern theory of knowledge that understands all natural things in the universe to be known by the human mind through the mind's dialectical structure."

    Ingegno writes that Bruno embraced the philosophy of Lucretius, "aimed at liberating man from the fear of death and the gods." Characters in Bruno's Cause, Principle and Unity desire "to improve speculative science and knowledge of natural things," and to achieve a philosophy "which brings about the perfection of the human intellect most easily and eminently, and most closely corresponds to the truth of nature"

    Other scholars oppose such views, and claim Bruno's martyrdom to science to be exaggerated, or outright false. For Yates, while "nineteenth century liberals" were thrown "into ecstasies" over Bruno's Copernicanism, "Bruno pushes Copernicus' scientific work back into a prescientific stage, back into Hermetism, interpreting the Copernican diagram as a hieroglyph of divine mysteries."

    Theological heresy

    In his Lectures on the History of Philosophy Hegel writes that Bruno's life represented "a bold rejection of all Catholic beliefs resting on mere authority."

    Alfonso Ingegno states that Bruno's philosophy "challenges the developments of the Reformation, calls into question the truth-value of the whole of Christianity, and claims that Christ perpetrated a deceit on mankind... Bruno suggests that we can now recognize the universal law which controls the perpetual becoming of all things in an infinite universe." A. M. Paterson says that, while we no longer have a copy of the official papal condemnation of Bruno, his heresies included "the doctrine of the infinite universe and the innumerable worlds" and his beliefs "on the movement of the earth".

    Michael White notes that the Inquisition may have pursued Bruno early in his life on the basis of his opposition to Aristotle, interest in Arianism, reading of Erasmus, and possession of banned texts. White considers that Bruno's later heresy was "multifaceted" and may have rested on his conception of infinite worlds. "This was perhaps the most dangerous notion of all... If other worlds existed with intelligent beings living there, did they too have their visitations? The idea was quite unthinkable."

    Frances Yates rejects what she describes as the "legend that Bruno was prosecuted as a philosophical thinker, was burned for his daring views on innumerable worlds or on the movement of the earth." Yates however writes that "the Church was... perfectly within its rights if it included philosophical points in its condemnation of Bruno's heresies" because "the philosophical points were quite inseparable from the heresies."

    According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "in 1600 there was no official Catholic position on the Copernican system, and it was certainly not a heresy. When [...] Bruno [...] was burned at the stake as a heretic, it had nothing to do with his writings in support of Copernican cosmology." Similarly, the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) asserts that

    "Bruno was not condemned for his defence 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."

    The website of the Vatican Secret Archives, discussing a summary of legal proceedings against Bruno in Rome, states:

    "In the same rooms where Giordano Bruno was questioned, for the same important reasons of the relationship between science and faith, at the dawning of the new astronomy and at the decline of Aristotle's philosophy, sixteen years later, Cardinal Bellarmino, who then contested Bruno's heretical theses, summoned Galileo Galilei, who also faced a famous inquisitorial trial, which, luckily for him, ended with a simple abjuration."

    Artistic depictions

    Following the 1870 Capture of Rome by the newly created Kingdom of Italy and the end of the Church's temporal power over the city, the erection of a monument to Bruno on the site of his execution became feasible. The monument was sharply opposed by the clerical party, but was finally erected by the Rome Municipality and inaugurated in 1889.

    A statue of a stretched human figure standing on its head, designed by Alexander Polzin and depicting Bruno's death at the stake, was placed in Potsdamer Platz station 52°30′35.4″N 13°22′33.5″E / 52.509833°N 13.375972°E / 52.509833; 13.375972 in Berlin on 2 March 2008.

    Retrospective iconography of Bruno shows him with a Dominican cowl but not tonsured. Edward Gosselin has suggested that it is likely Bruno kept his tonsure at least until 1579, and it is possible that he wore it again thereafter.[]

    An idealized animated version of Bruno appears in the first episode of the 2014 television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. In this depiction, Bruno is shown with a more modern look, without tonsure and wearing clerical robes and without his hood. Cosmos presents Bruno as an impoverished philosopher who was ultimately executed due to his refusal to recant his belief in other worlds, a portrayal that was criticized by some as simplistic or historically inaccurate.

    References in poetry

    Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote a poem honouring Giordano Bruno in 1889, when the statue of Bruno was constructed in Rome.

    Poet Heather McHugh in the year 2000 depicts Bruno as the principal of a story told (at dinner, by an "underestimated" travel guide) to a group of contemporary American poets in Rome. The poem (originally published in McHugh's collection of poems Hinge & Sign, nominee for the National Book Award, and subsequently reprinted widely) channels the very question of ars poetica, or meta-meaning itself, through the embedded narrative of the suppression of Bruno's words, silenced towards the end of his life both literally and literarily.

    Appearances in fiction

    Bruno and his theory of 'the coincidence of contraries' (coincidentia oppositorum) play an important role in James Joyce's novel Finnegans Wake. Joyce wrote in a letter to his patroness, Harriet Shaw Weaver, 'His philosophy is a kind of dualism – every power in nature must evolve an opposite in order to realise itself and opposition brings reunion'. Amongst his numerous allusions to Bruno in his novel, including his trial and torture, Joyce plays upon Bruno's notion of coincidentia oppositorum through applying his name to word puns such as "Browne and Nolan" (name of Dublin printers) and '"brownesberrow in nolandsland".

    Bruno Giordano features as the hero in a series of historical crime novels by S.J. Parris (pseudonym of Stephanie Merritt).

    Bertold Brecht wrote one of his "Calendar Stories" (Kalendergeschichten) on Bruno Giordano. In "The heretic's coat" (Der Mantel des Ketzers) Brecht extolls Bruno's unwavering honesty and selfless concern for justice.

    The Last Confession by Morris West (posthumously published) is a fictional autobiography of Bruno, ostensibly written shortly before his execution.

    In 1973 the biographical drama Giordano Bruno was released, an Italian/French movie directed by Giuliano Montaldo, starring Gian Maria Volonté as Bruno.

    The computer game In Memoriam features a lead character who claims to be Bruno, returned from the dead to seek vengeance.

    Bruno features as a main character in the historical segments of John Crowley's mystical Ægypt tetralogy of novels. The story covers his education as a Dominican and his investigation for heresy, and presents multiple versions of his execution on the Campo de' Fiori.

    His name appears and he is recognized in several novels, including

    He is cited and quoted in Pauline Hunter Blair's last adult novel, Jacob's Ladder (Church Farmhouse Books, Bottisham, 2003).

    In the television show Alias, the main character, CIA operative Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner), posing as a paleontologist visiting a museum, refers to Giordano Bruno in Season 3, Episode 20, "Blood Ties". In a scene starting at about 13:41 into the episode, Agent Bristow states that some unorthodox thinking in the paleontology world such as she espouses is "the kind of thing that got Giordano Bruno burned at the stake".

    Giordano Bruno Foundation

    The Giordano Bruno Foundation (German: Giordano Bruno Stiftung) is a non-profit foundation based in Germany that pursues the "Support of Evolutionary Humanism". It was founded by entrepreneur Herbert Steffen in 2004. The Giordano Bruno Foundation is considered[] critical of religion, which it characterizes as detrimental to cultural evolution.[]

    Giordano Bruno Memorial Award

    The SETI League makes an annual award honoring the memory of Giordano Bruno to a deserving person or persons who have made a significant contribution to the practice of SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence). The award was proposed by sociologist Donald Tarter in 1995 on the 395th anniversary of Bruno's death. The trophy presented is called a Bruno.[]

    Astronomical objects named after Bruno

    The 22 km impact crater Giordano Bruno on the far side of the Moon is named in his honor, as are the main belt asteroids 5148 Giordano and 13223 Cenaceneri; the latter is named for one of his works.[]

    Works

    • De umbris idearum (Paris, 1582)
    • Cantus Circaeus (1582)
    • De compendiosa architectura (1582)
    • Candelaio (The Torchbearer or The Candle Bearer, 1582; play)
    • Ars reminiscendi (1583)
    • Explicatio triginta sigillorum (1583)
    • Sigillus sigillorum (1583)
    • La Cena de le Ceneri (The Ash Wednesday Supper, 1584)
    • De la causa, principio, et uno (1584)
    • De l'infinito universo et mondi (On the Infinite Universe and Worlds, 1584)
    • Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfante (The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast, London, 1584)
    • Cabala del cavallo Pegaseo–Asino Cillenico (1585)
    • De gli heroici furori (1585)
    • Figuratio Aristotelici Physici auditus (1585)
    • Dialogi duo de Fabricii Mordentis Salernitani (1586)
    • Idiota triumphans (1586)
    • De somni interpretatione (1586)
    • Animadversiones circa lampadem lullianam (1586)
    • Lampas triginta statuarum (1586)
    • Centum et viginti articuli de natura et mundo adversus peripateticos (1586)
    • Delampade combinatoria Lulliana (1587)
    • De progressu et lampade venatoria logicorum (1587)
    • Oratio valedictoria (1588)
    • Camoeracensis Acrotismus (1588)
    • De specierum scrutinio (1588)
    • Articuli centum et sexaginta adversus huius tempestatismathematicos atque Philosophos (1588)
    • Oratio consolatoria (1589)
    • De vinculis in genere (1591)
    • De triplici minimo et mensura (1591)
    • De monade numero et figura (Frankfurt, 1591)
    • De innumerabilibus, immenso, et infigurabili (1591)
    • De imaginum, signorum et idearum compositione (1591)
    • Summa terminorum metaphisicorum (1595)
    • Artificium perorandi (1612)
    • Jordani Bruni Nolani opera latine conscripta, Dritter Band (1962) / curantibus F. Tocco et H. Vitelli

    See also

    • Fermi paradox
    • List of Roman Catholic scientist-clerics
    • Saints of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

    Notes

    References

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