Above right is an image of Galileo Bonaiuti de' Galilei and at left, the famous 19th century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury of Galileo before the Holy Office

Chapter Four
Dangerous Concept, Dangerous Times: Galileo, Kepler and the Church

Page 7

He was the last to extend the papal territory, last to practice nepotism on an extensive scale. He established a vast arsenal in the Vatican, expended vast papal funds to bring polymaths like Athanasius Kircher to Rome, patronized the arts in grand style; monies spent on famous painters like Poussin and Claude Lorrain and architects Bernini and Borromini. He summoned Galileo to Rome in 1633 to recant his beliefs. His pontificate covered twenty-one years of the Thirty Years' War such that his policies largely determined the outcome of that great struggle; a balance of parties which favour his own independence and strength as the temporal power in Italy. He was Pope Urban VIII. — Adapted from the Wikipedia article "Pope Urban VIII"


Portrait of Galileo on TrialGalileo and Pope Urban VIII had both drawn a line regarding the science of the heavens, though in the end, it was Urban's that would prove to be the much stronger and more permanent one and a line that Galileo would eventually be forced to cross back over. Yet, in the beginning, Urban had given some leeway to Galileo's ideas, for many of his discoveries were absolute, incontrovertible fact. Still, Galileo dared to ignore the line altogether, asserting theories as unquestionable, some given without any further proof than his own belief in them. For Pope Urban, this was a matter that had both personal and political consequences; by this time in the early 17th century, the church had already lost a considerable amount of its power and while she struggled to retain what was left, Galileo's sheer will of character alienated many well-known and well-placed individuals of his day, including his one time friend, patron and member of the Barberini family, Pope Urban himself. This set into motion the circumstances that were nothing more than a battle of wills, eventually becoming one of history's most famous trials, one whose verdict would remain upon Galileo Galilei till the end of his days, resonating well into the 20th century to become a telling history called The Age of Galileo.

The Age of Galileo

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
— Galileo Bonaiuti de' Galilei, 1564—1642

1564—1575 The Early Years

Tower of PisaPisa, like other early Italian cities of antiquity, started off as a colony and like other Italian cities, she found herself heir to both a very rich and often turbulent history. From 225 B.C. to 1400, the city rose and fell as a center of commerce, her fleets sailing to far off port of calls like Africa, Spain and the historic Levant where, The Pisans obtained great concessions in Palestine and in the principality of Antioch by lending their ships for the transportation of crusaders in 1099, and thereafter people of all nations were to be found in their city. She was the birthplace and home to future popes, cardinals, bishops, saints and even famous scoundrels. Most important of all, she was home to the first child of Vincenzo Galilei and Guilia de' Ammannati, a boy, born on February 15, 1564 and whom they named Galileo. Seen above is a view of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, built in 1173 to showcase the wealth of the city. The tower was begun on 9 August 1173, and completed in 1373. Its two hundred years construction time was the result of constant battles between the Pisans and Genoa, Lucca and Florence which halted the tower's construction for around 100 years. Image courtesy BBC News — On This Day   [1]
Vincenzo, Galileo's father, was born in the city of Florence in 1520 and later became both a teacher of music and an accomplished lute player: He was a competent mathematician, wrote with considerable ability on the history and practice of music, and was especially distinguished amongst his contemporaries for the grace and skill of his performance upon the lute. Having studied in Venice, he became interested in the science of music and sound and as a result, carried out many experiments on strings in order to support his musical theories. His mother, Guilia, who was born in Pescia, married Vincenzo in 1563 and together, made their home in the countryside near Pisa. Guilia would eventually bear Vincenzo six more children: two sons named Michelangiolo and Benedetto, whom died in infancy and four daughters named Virginia, Anna, Livia and Lena; of Anna and Lena, little is known of their lives.   [2]
It was in Pisa that the young Galileo began his education, guided by the wishes of his father and received both at home and at a local school. When not away on business, Vincenzo assisted in the teaching of lessons in Latin and introduced his son to his own ideas and theories regarding music; in fact, Galileo would himself become a very accomplished lute player. It is from this early period of Galileo's life that we begin to notice several characteristics that would later manifest themselves, traits that were to become some of his most famous and profitable: a remarkable intellectual aptitude and a skillful application when it came to mechanical inventions. His favourite pastime was the construction of toy-machines, not the less original and ingenious that their successful working was usually much hindered by the scarcity of suitable materials. To this is also added the natural enviroment of his childhood home wherein his father's own presence of character and ideals were impressed upon Galileo, an insightful glimpse of life as his father saw it and therefore, best told through Vincenzo's own words as written in his 1581 introduction to Dialogo della Musica Antica et della Moderna:

It appears to me that those who rely simply on the weight of authority to prove any assertion, without searching out the arguments to support it, act absurdly. I wish to question freely and to answer freely without any sort of adulation. That well becomes any who are sincere in the search for truth.   [3]

In this respect, Galileo would certainly inherit his father's forthright nature in both writing and deed.
1575—1581 Florence and Vallombrosa

Vallombrosa Benedict AbbeyAround early 1575, the Galilei family left Pisa and returned to their ancestorial homeland of Florence, an area in which the family had lived for generations. It was here that Galileo began his formal education, enrolling at the monastery school of Vallombrosa, which he entered in 1578 at the age of thirteen. As was common amongst the institutions of learning under the Roman Catholic Church, Galileo began his education with studies in Latin, acquainting himself with the best of Latin authors. In addition, he acquired a fair command of the Greek tongue, a language that added a distinguishing flavor to his pen, as seen in the elegant style and character of his many existing letters. Galileo also began a study in the subject of logic, but soon found it to be a dry and uninteresting course with nothing to stimulate his mind excepting its few scientific or philosophical points. Above is the Vallombrosa Benedict Abbey, founded by the Florentine noble Giovanni Gualberto in 1038, thereafter to became the mother house of the Vallumbrosan Order. Credit: Villa Rigacci-via Manzoni
It was during the middle of 1579 that Vincenzo's wishes regarding his son's education came to the fore; Galileo seems to have been rather attracted towards the religious life of the monks at Vallombrosa, entering the order as a novice in that year. This was disconcerting to his father who desired a far more profitable career for his son and so, when Galileo became afflicted with ophthalmia in 1579, Vincenzo used it as an opportunity to withdraw him from the monastery school of Vallombrosa.
Up to this point in his life, Galileo had shown a remarkable understanding and deft skill with the application of the other arts as well, including a talent for painting, good eye for drawing and a fondness for poetry, the latter which one may discern when reading his essays on Dante, Ariosto and others. As for the arts of painting and drawing, Galileo may well have been drawn towards their study and education however, these were not options open to him (as later expressed by Galileo himself), excepting to speak upon their form as a critic might and in this, his own opinion would later become eagerly sought out by other notable painters of his day, including Ludovico Cigoli, Jacopo da Empoli and Domenico Passignano. Cigoli, in particular, became a close personal friend of Galileo and is of much interest to our narrative—discussed later—for in 1612, he painted:

...a last fresco in the dome of the Pauline chapel of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, depicting the Madonna standing upon a pock-marked lunar orb. This is the first extant example of Galileo's discoveries about the physical nature of the moon (as he himself drew it in Sidereus Nuncius) having penetrated the visual arts practice of his day.   [4]

Having withdrawn his son from Vallombrosa, Galileo's father now had to choose a school as well as a discipline that was not only "profitable" but one that was also in keeping with the skills and interests that Galileo had displayed a propensity towards: a scientific career. In addition, there was the fact that though of nobel family, Vincenzo held no property nor was his income of any sizeable amount. After some thought, Galileo's father, laying aside the idea of having his son become an apprentice in the cloth trade (a fairly stable business in 16th and early 17th century Florence   -fn2) and stretching his finances to their limit, decided on the profession of medicine; music and mathematics having already proven themselves to be of little value as far as a profitable career was concerned. So it was that on September 5th, 1581 Galileo was sent back to the city of his birth, taking up residence with a relative named Muzio Tedaldi and enrolling at the University of Pisa.
1581—1585 The University of Pisa

University of PisaAt the age of seventeen and a half, Galileo entered the University of Pisa to study medicine; it was the year 1581. In 1585, without taking his doctor's degree, he walked out of the university firmly entrenched in and comitted to the study of mathematics. This change in diciplines came as a result of Galileo's own desires—to be realized by his father as his son's inevitable path in life—and clearly in keeping with the character traits that were to later prove so troublesome to others: the stubborn desire to forge ahead and follow his own path, coupled to a tendency to challenge or question authority rather than accept what was then the "norm" of blindly following rote. This was a trait Galileo diplayed from the start of his education at Pisa, questioning the great teachings of ancient philosophers like Aristotle, an act that was anything but usual or expected from the students of his time. To Galileo's way of thinking, it should have been easy, through the labors of experimentation, to test the time honored theories of ancient thinking in order to show what actually was or would happen rather than teaching what was suppose to happen. This outspokenness earned him the scorn of his instructors and students and a rather particular nickname. As the early 19th century biographer J. J. Fahie noted:

In consequence of this unheard-of audacity in one so young, he soon acquired a reputation among the professors and his fellow - students for bold contradiction, and was dubbed "The Wrangler." His eager questioning of the dictates of Aristotle, Plato, St Thomas Aquinas, and other ancient lights, found no favour in their eyes. To the narrow conceptions of the time, a philosopher needed only to know Aristotle.   [5]

1582 Principles of Pendulum Motion

Cathedral of PisaIn 1582, at the age of eighteen, Galileo made his first discovery, one that eventually lead to his principles of pendulum motion. The famous incident occured during his devotions within the Cathedral of Pisa, shown in the image at left, which is a view of the Nave toward the Apse. An attendant, having to reach a particular lamp suspended from the ceiling in order to light it, drew the lamp towards him and after accomplishing his task let it swing back into place. Though the incident was probably one that had been repeated countless times, it caught Galileo's attention long enough for him to ponder upon the lamp's motion versus its time through the arc. Using his own pulse as a rough timing device, Galileo found that the period of swing remained almost exactly the same, even as the lamp lost energy and the size of the swing became smaller. Though it would remain in the future for Galileo to develope a serious line of experimental work and writings based on this principle (1602), it is our earliest example of his scientific thought on motion and hence, the world around him; the early beginnings of a mathematical approach towards the physical nature of his enviroment and a means of exactness in one's description of how things work. Image courtesy San Antonio College: Ancient to Gothic Art History.
Euclid of AlexandriaLater in life, Galileo would touch upon his education and the direction it took, saying If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics. Indeed he may have if not for the fact that Italy at this time offered little in the way for those wishing to study the subject of mathematics and even less in the way of income; the very mention of the names Euclid or Archimedes garnering one a blank or disdainful stare in some circles. However, though a subject that saw little to no mention within the Rotuli or scrolls of the various institutions of learning at this time, it was by no means a wholly neglected dicipline. Earlier in the 16th century, Italian mathematicians had made progress under the aegis of those like Scipione del Ferro (1465—1526), professor of mathematics at the University of Bologna and founder of the algebraic solution of cubic and quartic equations, the unprincipled genius Gerolamo Cardano, best known for his achievements in algebra and Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia, whom published the first Italian translations of Archimedes and Euclid as well as compiling studies in mathematics and applying these to the investigation regarding the paths of cannonballs, work that was later validated by Galileo. In spite of these achievements and the fact that there exsited several chairs or professorships in the field of mathematics amongst the great universities, Vincenzo felt, with some justification as to the monetary rewards to be had, the study of math such an inappropriate or wasteful pursuit that he seems to have exerted some effort at keeping its secrets from his son's inquisitive eyes or at least, within his reach, though he himself had a good grasp of the discipline through his own studies. Image above right of Euclid of Alexandria courtesy Bethany Lutheran College   [6]
Yet, as we have seen, Galileo's own incorrigible desires and inner drive were firmly apparent and working overtime, especially when it came to his appetite for learning the physical nature and fundamentals of the world around him. So it was, that In his quest to learn mathematics, Galileo was in luck, for close at hand was a kindred soul, a gentlemen of some renown and standing who would set Galileo upon a path that was much to his heart's desire:

A certain Messer Ostilio Ricci, who occupied the post of tutor to the pages of the Grand Ducal Court, was in the habit of daily frequenting his father's house. Unknown to his father, Galileo appplied to him for instruction. Ricci, pleased at the youth's anxiety to learn, spoke to Vincenzio Galilei, advising him not to combat what was evidently the natural bent of his son's mind. His advice so far took effect, that Vincenzio consented; but Ricci was required to give his instruction clandestinely, lest Galileo should consider the paternal acquiescence an excuse for neglecting his medical studies.   [7]

With his father's tacit approval all the leeway needed, Galileo forged ahead into the world of mathematics, with his studies of Hippocrates and Galen taking a back seat to Euclid's Elements, as well as works from the great scientist of antiquity, Archimedes (though it seems Galileo only fully began earnest studies of Euclid and Archimedes upon his return to Florence in the following year). By 1584, Galileo was in his third year at the University of Pisa but the financial situation of his father was even more precarious than ever and his family had, by this time, grown larger. As a result, Vincenzo applied, as he had done previously, to the Grand Duke, Ferdinando I de' Medici for one of forty free places or scholarships founded to aid the students of the poor or poor scholars (a concept similar to that aid received by Kepler in 1591 at Tübingen). Again, as had resulted in previous attempts at such, a scholarship was denied Galileo, due in no small part to his own attitude and character which garnered him neither sympathy nor aid, be he poor or otherwise. For Galileo "the Wrangler", this marked the end of his education in Pisa and in 1585, it was decided that he withdraw from the university and so returned home to Florence without having obtained a degree.
1585 Archimedes and the Hydrostatic Balance

looking down at FlorenceGalileo was now twenty-one years old and back home in Florence where he would remain over the next four years. He applied himself with great verve to the study of mathematics, once again tutoring under his friend Ostilio Ricci who continued his studies of Euclid and Archimedes, the latter of which provides us with another insightful glimpse into Galileo's own method of analysis and another of his inventions, the hydrostatic balance, a device consisting of an equal-arm balance in which an object is weighed first in air and then in a beaker of water to determine its specific gravity. Image left, looking down at Florence.
The story of Galileo's development of a hydrostatic balance began with his study of Archimedes of Syracuse (c.287 BC — c.212 BC), the Greek physicist, engineer, inventor, astronomer and mathematician who is generally considered to be the greatest of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. It was Archimedes work in mechanics that interested Galileo the most and firmly placed him upon the path he had now chosen. Archimedes is also the source for the popular story regarding the initial discovery of a method for determining the amount of certain metals within an alloy:

It is most famously attributed to the ancient Greek scholar Archimedes; he reportedly proclaimed "Eureka!" when he stepped into a bath and noticed that the water level rose — he suddenly understood that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. This meant that the volume of irregular objects could be calculated with precision, a previously intractable problem. He is said to have been so eager to share his realisation that he leapt out of his bathtub and ran through the streets of Syracuse naked.

Archimedes' insight led to the solution of a problem posed by Hiero of Syracuse, on how to assess the purity of an irregular golden crown. Equipment for weighing objects already existed, and now that Archimedes could also measure volume, their ratio would give the object's density, an important indicator of purity.   [8]

Hydrostatic BalanceFor Galileo, the story's procedure for measuring the gold content within the crown made for Hiero seemed errant and inexact. This set Galileo's mind to ponder on the making of a device that was a much more accurate and reliable instrument. By 1586 Galileo had designed a new device and method for the measuring of certain metal content. As noted by Al Van Helden at the Gailieo Project website:
"Weighing precious metals in air and then in water was presumably a practice that was common among jewelers in Europe. Galileo had some ideas for refining the practice and, at the age of 22, he wrote a little tract about it, which he entitled La Bilancetta, or 'The Little Balance.' What Galileo described was an accurate balance for weighing things in air and water, in which the part of the arm on which the counter weight was hung was wrapped with metal wire. The amount by which the counterweight had to be moved when weighing in water could then be determined very accurately by counting the number of turns of the wire, and the proportion of, say, gold to silver in the object could be read off directly." The following year, Galileo gained notice when he published an essay in manuscript form describing his new invention. Shown at right is an image of an early hydrostatic balance and is courtesy the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford   [9]

1586—1587 Guidobaldo del Monte, Ferdinando I de' Medici and Dante's Inferno

Marquis Guidobaldo del Monte of PesaroIt was during this time and as a result of the above, that Galileo received his first of many influential recognitions. This came in the form of the renown mathematician, philosopher and astronomer Marquis Guidobaldo del Monte of Pesaro (1545—1607), who, favorably impressed with Galileo's essay, began to correspond with the young mathematician. Guidobaldo del Monte correctly formed the opinion that from Galileo, one could expect many great things and so took it upon himself to have the young, up and coming mathematician and inventor brought to the notice of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando I de' Medici, and though this would bear no immediate fruits, was no small thing. The House of Medici had become a very influential, powerful and rich one, involved in almost every aspect of life during this period: banking, politics, commerce, religion (they gave Catholic Europe four Popes), influneced and contributed to the beginnings of the Italian Renaissance, increased its shipping/naval strength, improved civic utilities and were to become the most noted of Galileo's patrons who in turn, tutored multiple generations of Medici children. Though later, Galileo's patronage was eventually abandoned by Ferdinando II, when the Inquisition accused him of heresy, they did take it upon themselves to provide Galileo with a safe haven for many years. Still, while this recognition of his talents was very gratifying, it wasn't enough to put food on the table; Galileo needed a job. Image left of Guidobaldo del Monte courtesy Wikipedia. [10]
While at home, Galileo assisted his father in some remarkable experiments on the pitch of plucked strings under known tension but, the need for some kind of income weighed heavily upon his family and this Galileo could clearly see. As such, he made an unsuccessful effort to secure the position of Professor of Mathematics at the University of Bologna when it became available in mid 1597; the job went to astronomer, astrologer, cartographer, and mathematician Giovanni Antonio Magini of which we will hear more of later. Galileo also began, at this time, to give private lessons in mathematics and mechanics to students in Florence and the neighboring city of Siena and while he waited for his fortunes to improve, Galileo was invited to address the Florentine Academy and to give two lectures on a topic that had been debated for the last one hundred years: what were the location, shape, and dimensions of Dante's Inferno? But it seems from the record that Galileo's discussion, while mathematically calculated, was less a scientific dissertation for academic consumption and more of an opportunity at currying favor in order to advance his standing, a goal he achieved very nicely in this instance and another character trait of Galileo's that would be employed sucessfully in the future.   [11]
Dante's InfernoAs noted by professor Mark Peterson in Galileo's Discovery of Scaling Laws: "Galileo's audience at the Florentine Academy was not a mathematical one. The Florentine Academy was a creation of the Medici dynasty (which had ascended to the nobility only in the immediately previous generation), and had as one of its chief functions the glorification of the Medici in every intellectual arena. It was far more important for Galileo to play to this predilection of his audience than to display mathematical erudition. In the event he brilliantly combined a clear exposition of mathematics with a topic Florence loved to hear, their great poet Dante, and in particular, the geometry of Dante's Inferno, based on evidence from the poem. Although Galileo did introduce certain original material in his lecture, he did not call too much attention to it, and represented himself rather as describing two previous rival attempts to determine the plan of Hell."   [12]
Extrapolating from Dante's line that "[the giant Nimrod's] face was about as long and just as wide as St. Peter's cone in Rome," Galileo deduced that Lucifer himself was 2,000 armlengths long. The audience was impressed, and within a year and a half, Galileo had received a three-year appointment to the University of Pisa, the same university that ironically, he never graduated from! At right is an image of the great Nimrod (Canto 34) and is courtesy Fisher Arts, part of a larger panel (88" x 42" Acrylic) showing Dante's Inferno and used with the kind permission of Duane Fisher.
1587—1589 Christopher Clavius, Rome and Pisa

Saint Peter's SquareIn 1587, the Italian city of Rome found itself in the midst of a major remodelling effort initiated by its benefactor, a soft-spoken Franciscan friar who, in 1585 became Pope Sixtus V. Finding himself the inheritor of a bankrupt Vatican treasury, ecclesiastical states that were rife with lawless brigands and 140,000 inhabitants in need of growth away from the banks of the flood prone Tiber River, Sixtus set himself to the task of renewing the physical appearence and layout of the city that was home to Catholic Europe's highest ecclesiastical seat. Though his pontificate would last a mere five years, his achievements within such a short time period, though financially unsound, would be only the more remarkable. It was during the middle period of Sixtus' urban renewal, in the autumn of 1587, that Galileo decided to take his first visit Rome and though we have no record as to the purpose of his visit, Galileo did meet with Christopher Clavius, a mathematician and astronomer best known for his lead in reforming the calendar into its present day form; the Gregorian calendar of 1582. Born in Germany c.1538, Clavius joined the Jesuit order in 1555, attended the University of Coimbra in Portugal and thereafter, moved to Italy where he studied theology at the Jesuit Collegio Romano in Rome. By the time of Galileo's arrival there, Clavius had become a well respected and renown mathematician as well as the Professor of Mathematics at the Collegio Romano. Seen above is Saint Peter's square in Vatican City, viewed from the lantern of Saint Peter's. Courtesy Travel Adventures.
Galileo had sent copies of his article regarding the hydrostatic balance and other works to prominent mathematicians in Italy and abroad, which may have included Clavius who, as previously noted, greeted Galileo warmly upon his visit to Rome in 1587. The two obviously talked "shop" as Clavius gained a favourable impression from Galileo's work on the centre of gravity of solids. Hence forth, the two mathematicians would continue a friendly correspondence (the earliest of Galileo's letters still in existence was to Clavius and dates from January 8, 1588) and as a result, Galileo would gain another invaluable patron who would greatly help advance his career and future ambitions by playing a fundamental role in securing Galileo's posts both at Pisa and at Padua.   [13]
In was now January of 1588 and Galileo still had not obtained a position within his choosen field of mathematics, though to this point, he had obtained the recognition and patronage of several leading figures who were to shortly change his fortunes. In the meantime, Galileo travelled to Venice in hopes of obtaining another vacant profeesorship that had recently opened at Padua University but was unsuccessful. Thereafter, Galileo sought out the assistance of Guidobaldo del Monte by asking him to apply, on his behalf, for a similar post that had just opened at the University of Pisa, the very same university which he had attended in 1581. On July 16, 1588 he wrote del Monte to inform him of the results:

My wish regarding Pisa, about which I wrote your lordship, will not be carried out; for I hear that a certain monk, who lectured there formerly, and then, on being made General of his Order, retired, has resigned the Generalship, and has again taken to lecturing; and that his Highness has already appointed him to the post.

Now, as here in Florence there was formerly a Professorship of Mathematics, which was established by the Grand Duke, Cosimo I., and which many among the nobles would like to see revived, I have petitioned for it, and hope to obtain it through your illustrious brother's influence, to whom I have entrusted my case. As there have been foreigners here, with whom his Highness has been engaged, I have not been able to speak on the subject myself, and, therefore, I beg you to write again and mention my name.   [14]

Perhaps feeling his quest to obtain a professorship in mathematics might go unfulfilled, it appears that sometime in May 1589, Galileo contemplated a travel scheme with a friend named Ricasoli Baroni, the two preparing to seek better fortunes by heading to the East. Yet, once again, the position of Mathematical Professorship at Pisa opened up and through the combined efforts of both Guidobaldo and del Monte, he was finally awarded the prize he so eagerly sought. It mattered not that the salary was slight, only around five shillings a week (the professor of medicine received thirty times as much) and the post, though renewable, was for just three years. As noted by historian J. J. Fahie in Galileo His Life and Work, p.21:   [15]

Moreover, the appointment was only for three years, but renewable. But, any port in a storm; and in Galileo's needy circumstances, even this wretched salary was not to be rejected; besides, the office would enable him to make something in addition by private tuition.

Galileo was now twenty-five and a half years old and had finally achieved what was most desirous to him, a professorship. Yet, it is certain that if Galileo was anything, it was ambitious; it is also clear that Galileo's indomitable and at times, stubborn character, while wholly beneficial to his physico-mathematical research, were anything but endearing to those who occupied long-standing positions around and above him. These traits were to prove, over the long run, the most disadvantageous to Galileo; their ability to alienate both friend and foe alike saw their beginnings at this time and they would continue until, whatever truth lay behind their inception, began to be seen as the attack of a cantankerous upstart rather than the steady hand and pen wielded in the name of enlightenment and progress. Yet, as this lay much in the future, we will proceed to look at Galileo's rise to fame over the next twenty-five years in the following chapter.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself. —Galileo

1.   Within the Library of Congress, Vatican archives, there is a letter from one Girolamo Mei to Galileo's father, Vincenzo Galilei, dated 8 May 1572: This copy of an important letter from the humanist Girolamo Mei to the Florentine musician Vincenzo Galilei, father of the great astronomer, concerns the nature of Greek music. The letter includes a discussion of the presumed power of Greek music to move the emotions; from these ideas Galilei and his colleagues in Florence developed a new musical aesthetic that led to the creation of opera and other baroque forms. See: Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture from The Library of Congress, Exhibitions

2.   See: Munro, John H. (2005): The woollen cloth industry in Italy: The rise, expansion, and decline of the Italian cloth industries, 1100 — 1730. Published in: Il Rinascimento italiano et l'Europa, vol. IV: Commercio e cultura mercantile 1 4 (2007): pp. 105-141.

3.   In dealing with the terms "Scientific" and "Experiment" as applied within the 16th and early 17th century, both would hardly be recognized, if at all, as we today define them. The word science: " Modern sense of "non-arts studies" is attested from 1678. The distinction is commonly understood as between theoretical truth (Gk. episteme) and methods for effecting practical results (tekhne), but science sometimes is used for practical applications and art for applications of skill. Main modern (restricted) sense of "body of regular or methodical observations or propositions ... concerning any subject or speculation" is attested from 1725; in 17c.-18c. this concept commonly was called philosophy." The terms "scientific revolution" is from 1803; "scientific method" is from 1854; "scientific notation" is from 1961. As to the term Experiment, it is the consensus amongst leading authorities and biographers of Galileo that much of his experimentation was the result of discoveries made out of systematic or logical thought rather than real world experiments. One must also be mindful that the Scientific revolution had only a precarious start in 1543 with Nicolaus Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and did not again see the light of day until the the expansion of this and other theories through the efforts of those like Kepler, Galileo and Newton, as well as through the work of others during the 17th and 18th century periods. Sources: 1) Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary © November 2001   2) How did Galileo discover the law of free fall? Nagarjuna G. Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, INDIA   3) Scientific revolution. The article is a precis on historical science from the online encyclopedia website Wikipedia.

Chapter Four
Dangerous Concept, Dangerous Times: Galileo, Kepler and the Church

Page 8

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Author note: New material will be posted starting Feb. 2010


  1. Pisa and the Church—A History, City of Pisa, historical article from Pisa Accommodations © ammonet InfoTech 2005 - 2009
  2. Clerke, Agnes M. (1842—1907), article Galileo Galilei Italian physicist and astronomer (1564-1642). Also for the quote in following paragraph above, beginning "His favourite pastime..." Miss Clerke made astronomical observations at the Cape of Good Hope, 1888; gained the Actonian Prize for her works on astronomy, 1893 and is the author of A Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century and Problems in Astrophysics. © 2005-09 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.
  3. Reston, James Jr, Galileo: A life New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994. p.9
  4. Cigoli Biography and works From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. November 1, 2009. Above text was made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
  5. Fahie, J. J., 1846-1934 Galileo His Life and Work London Murray 1903. Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Gerstein - University of Toronto, Collection: Toronto. p.8 Online version available Internet Archive: Free Download Evidence reported by Katie Lawson for item galileohislifewo00fahiuoft on December 5, 2007: no visible notice of copyright; exact publication date unknown.
  6. Simplicio, in Two New Sciences by Galileo, 1638 translation by H. Crew and A. De Salvio, 1939. See: Galileo Galilei Italian Scientist 1564-1642 A selection from DIALOGUE CONCERNING TWO NEW SCIENCES Narrated by Dick Hill. This is the free audio download (podcast) from Listen to Genius, Published by Redwood Audiobooks
  7. Galilei, Galileo; Galilei, Maria Celeste; Allan-Olney, Mary (Editor) The private life of Galileo (1870), This work is compiled principally from his correspondence and that of his eldest daughter, Maria Celeste. Publisher: Boston, Nichols and Noyes. CH. I., p.18. Book contributor: University of California Libraries, Digitizing sponsor: MSN. NOT IN COPYRIGHT
  8. Eureka (word) "Eureka or "I have found it" is an "...exclamation used as an interjection to celebrate a discovery." Archimedes, from Wikipedia. November 4, 2009.
  9. Hydrostatic Balance Service d'histoire de l'éducation Créé en 1970, le Service d'histoire de l'éducation est un laboratoire de recherche et de service. Il constitue l'une des unités de recherche de l'INRP où il a été implanté en 1977. Il est en cours d'association avec l'ENS-Ulm.(Founded in 1970, the Department of the History of Education is a research and service laboratory which has made up one of the departments of the INRP since 1977. It is being associated with ENS-Ulm.) — Article on Scientific instruments
  10. Clerke, Agnes M. (1842—1907), article Galileo Galilei Italian physicist and astronomer (1564-1642), "...rapidly made his name known throughout Italy" from no. 2 above
  11. Drake, Stillman Galileo at Work Dover Publications Inc., Mineola, NY, 1978, pp. 16—17.
  12. Peterson, Mark A. Galileo's Discovery of Scaling Laws Department of Physics, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075, 2002. p.8
  13. Peterson, Mark A. Galileo's Discovery of Scaling Laws p.10, fn.45
  14. Fahie, J. J., 1846-1934 Galileo His Life and Work p.20
  15. Favaro, Antonio — Maria Celeste Galilei Galileo Galilei e suor Maria Celeste / per Antonio Favaro (1891) p.25. Regarding Galileo and his friend, Ricasoli Baroni's plan to travel to the East. Publisher: G. Barbèra, Year: 1891, Italian. Book digitized by Google and uploaded to the Internet Archive
Selected Further Reading
  • Brück, Mary Women in Early British and Irish Astronomy Stars and Satellites Chptr. 12, The Scholarly Sisters pp.185-202, Publisher: Springer Netherlands, DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2473-2_12, Saturday, July 25, 2009
  • SARA ELIZABETH BOOTH and ALBERT VAN HELDEN The Virgin and the Telescope: The Moons of Cigoli and Galileo. Science in Context 13:3-4, 463 Online publication date: 1-Feb-2000.
  • The Sixteenth-Century Mathematics of Italy: Commercial Mathematics from the Mathematics History website. This is an interesting website page that, grammical errors aside, nicely presents the historical characters involved, from Oriemtal mathematics to present day. It appears to be based upon the work of Howard Eves, Lee Woo-young and Sin Hang-gyun (translation) of: An Introduction to the History of Mathematics, Seoul: Kyung Moon Publishing, 1995. See: Howard Eves' textbook: An Introduction To The History of Mathematics. A well written and informative textbook containing everything you wanted to know about mathematics.
  • Shea, William & Artigas, Mariano The Galileo Affair Unpublished text, January 2006. Made available through the Creative Commons distribution licensing and presented at the University of Navarra — Group of Research on Science, Reason and Faith.
  • Palmieri, Paolo Mental models in Galileo's early mathematization of nature. UCL London, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK. Received 21 June 2001; received in revised form 7 May 2002
Present & Future Historical Bytes
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