History is full of many people questioning the common ideas and beliefs of their time! Countless scientists, philosophers or artists have experienced great difficulties because of their objections to the general acceptance of the period in which they lived. Many were punished in a small or large way by the rulers of their time. Giordano Bruno, an Italian priest, scientist and philosopher, was one of the most important people who challenged the power structures by risking great hardships and even death during his lifetime! Despite the pressures of the church and his corrupt ideas, Giordano Bruno, who did not give up his scientific thoughts, lived a life full of hardship and exile. Bruno did not back down, despite pressure from the church and the announcement that he would be forgiven if he gave up on his ideas. Bruno’s determined stance eventually resulted in his gruesome execution. Thus, the Italian philosopher became one of the first people in history to dare to die for science! Here’s what you need to know about Giordano Bruno, who was referred to as a “martyr of science” hundreds of years after his death.
Giordano Bruno was born in Italy in 1548.
Born in Nola, near the city of Naples, Bruno’s father was a soldier. Thanks to this, Bruno, who had a comfortable childhood, was introduced to books at a young age. A smart and hardworking boy, Bruno was sent to Naples to study at the age of 14. At the age of 17 he joined the Dominican Order at the Domenico Maggiore Church. He became a priest in 1572 at the age of 24. During his time as a priest, he was known as a hardworking and intelligent person. But he also had a free spirit and, contrary to popular belief, different ideas!
His “contrary” thoughts did not escape the attention of the Inquisition!
Bruno questioned the centuries-old ancient teachings of the church, developed theories about Christianity, and was more interested in philosophy than theology! All this combined with Bruno’s maverick and sharp tongue! Thus, rumors began to spread that an investigation would be launched against this young priest. With his notes being seized by the church, Giordano Bruno was forced to flee from Naples to Rome in 1576! Thus, Bruno’s long years of exile began.
Living in 16th century Europe was not easy for Giordano Bruno, who became “persona non grata” by the church.
Because of this, he had to change places often! Switzerland, France, Germany and England were among the countries where Giordano Bruno traveled to get rid of church oppression! Bruno continued to defend both his philosophy and his scientific ideas throughout his years of exile. He continued to write many books about his own ideas in exile.
The works of Nicolaus Copernicus, which supported the “heliocentrism” theory, greatly increased the number of Bruno’s enemies.
The heliocentrism theory was roughly an astronomy theory that held that the Earth and other planets revolved around the Sun. Moreover, the “disturbing” thoughts advocated by Giordano Bruno were not limited to this. Bruno also argued that the stars were distant suns, that there were systems other than the solar system in the universe, and that the universe had no center! Unfortunately, at that time these ideas were unacceptable not only to the church but also to many scientists. These ideas caused Bruno to fall apart both with the church and with many scientists, and he had to return to France from England in 1585. Having settled in Germany in 1589, Giordano Bruno decided to return to Italy in 1591!
Why Bruno decided to return to Italy is controversial even today.
Because at that time, Italy was one of the countries where church pressure was felt most intensely. And Giordano Bruno was one of the people that the church hated the most at that time! Today, some experts believe that Bruno’s decision was due to an invitation from a Venetian noble. Others attribute this challenge to the high self-confidence of Giordano Bruno!
He was betrayed in Venice, however, and was soon denounced.
According to some, this denunciation was made by friends of Giordano Bruno. According to some, he was reported by the noble who invited him to Venice. After all, Giordano Bruno was arrested by the church and put on trial in Venice! Indeed, a compromise seemed possible between Giordano Bruno and the court in Venice. However, the “Vatican”, which had a great hatred for Giordano Bruno for years, decided to get involved in the case! Thereupon, Bruno was taken from Venice to Rome.
The crimes of Giordano Bruno were compiled a few decades later by Robert Bellarmine, who would also try Galileo Galilei
8 different crimes were attributed to Bruno in the trial, which lasted for 7 years. Being anti-Catholic and anti-Christ, rejecting the Trinity, questioning whether Mary was a virgin… were some of Bruno’s crimes. According to the church, Bruno was a “here” with 8 major crimes. Of course the purpose of the church was to punish Bruno for his philosophical and scientific thoughts! So Bruno had much bigger crimes! It is like believing that the universe is infinite, thinking that there may be other galaxies in the universe, and saying that every substance in the universe is made up of atoms.
Bruno says he won’t give up on his ideas despite the church’s insistence
Because he believed, moreover, he knew that most of these ideas, which were extremely progressive for his time, were true! Bruno’s uncompromising stance angered the church even more! Giordano Bruno was horribly executed for his thoughts, the truth of which was revealed hundreds of years later!
He was burned alive in Campo de’ Fiori Square on February 17, 1600!
Moreover, the execution order of Giordano Bruno was personally given to Pope VIII. Given by Clement! Hundreds of people witnessed the burning of Giordano Bruno with their own eyes! Throughout his life, Bruno tried to defend his thoughts and to enlighten people’s path with science. In the last moment of his life, he preferred to die rather than give up his own philosophical and scientific thoughts. Thus, Bruno went down in history as one of the first people to risk dying for science. Today, there is a statue of Giordano Bruno in the square where he was burned alive centuries ago.