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Bruno, Giordano

system heliocentric supporting french

(1548–1600) Italian philosopher: supporter of the Copernican (heliocentric) system.

Bruno entered but later left the Dominican Order, and spoke and wrote supporting radical views on religion, the infinity of space, the motion of the Earth and the Copernican system. He travelled widely in Europe, was arrested by the Inquisition (1592) and after a lengthy trial refused to recant. Details of the trial have been destroyed, but Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600. It is usually believed that this event influenced in favour of recanting when he was similarly charged with heresy and supporting the heliocentric system in 1633.

In 1991 it was suggested that Bruno had an important position as a spy. In the early 1580s he was accredited as a chaplain in the French embassy in London, at a time when England saw itself in grave danger from Catholic conspiracy. Bruno secured information on Spanish and French schemes and reported, under the name ‘Henry Fagot’ to Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, and his espionage overturned the Throckmorton plot. The truth may never be shown with certainty, but it seems likely that Bruno has as significant a place in the political scene as in science.

Bruno, Giordano (1548–1600) - BIOGRAPHY, MAJOR WORKS AND THEMES, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Brunis (originally Brunies), George Clarence)

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