Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Whose Statue is that in Campo dei Fiori?
The Dominican friar Giordano Bruno was burned alive as a heretic in Campo dei Fiori in 1600. The Catholic Church condemned him to this horrific death because of his radical philosophical beliefs-that the sun was the center of our circle of planets and that the universe was unlimited in its evolution. This belief, of course, contradicted the Church's assertion that the universe was created by a single deity. Galileo's discoveries 16 years later supported Bruno's beliefs, but when Galileo appeared before the Grand Inquisitor he caved in. Bruno never recanted his beliefs and paid the price. When the statue in Campo dei Fiori was erected in 1889, the Catholic Church still refused to recognize Bruno's ideas and to this day the Vatican expresses only a little regret for the friar's fate. A recent article in the New Yorker reviews a new biography of his life by Ingrid Rowland-" Giordano Bruno:Philosopher/Heretic."