1592Galileo Galilei, professor of mathematics at the
University of Pisa, drops two spheres of different masses from the Leaning
Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their
time of descent is
independent of their mass.
This disproves the theory of gravity
according to Aristotle which states objects fall at speed proportional to their
Galileo Galilei comes to the
attention of the Inquisition for the first time for his Copernican views.
Dominican friar, Niccolo Lorini,
who had earlier criticized Galileo's view in private conversations, files a
written complaint with the Inquisition against Galileo's Copernican views.
Galileo subsequently writes a long letter defending his views to
Monsignor Piero Dini, a well connected
official in the Vatican, he then writes his Letter to the Grand Duchess
Christina arguing for freedom of inquiry and travels to Rome to defend his
A committee of consultants
declares to the Inquisition that the propositions that
the Sun is the center of the universe and
that the Earth has an annual
motion are absurd in
philosophy, at least erroneous in
theology, and formally a heresy.
On orders of the
Pope Paul V, Cardinal
Bellarmine calls Galileo to his residence and administers a warning not to hold
or defend the Copernican theory.
Galileo is forbidden to discuss
Copernican theory orally or in writing.
Galileo meets repeatedly with his (at that time)
friend and patron Pope
Urban VIII, he is allowed to write about the Copernican theory as long as
he treated it as a mathematical hypothesis.
A complaint against Galileo's publication The Assayer is lodged
at the Inquisition by a person unknown.
The complaint charges atomistic theory embraced
in this book cannot be reconciled with official church doctrine regarding the
in which bread and wine are
"transubstantiated'' into Christ's flesh and blood.
Inquisition investigation Galileo is exonerated.
Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World
Systems, in which the Ptolemaic and Copernican
models are discussed and compared, is cleared (conditionally) to be published
by the Vatican.
Pope Urban VIII,
convinced by the arguments of
various Church officials, stops the distribution of Dialogue Concerning the
Two Chief World Systems.
The case is referred to the Inquisition and
Galileo is summoned to Rome despite his infirmities.
Galileo is ordered to stand trial on suspicion of
heresy, "for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is
the center of reality".
Galileo is interrogated and threatened with
Galileo is found guilty of heresy, and the sentence of the Inquisition
is in three parts:
1) Galileo is found "vehemently suspect of heresy," namely of
having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the center of the
universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that
one may hold and defend an opinion as probable
after it has been declared contrary to
He was required to "abjure, curse, and detest" those
2) He is sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of
On the following day this is commuted to house arrest,
in which he remains under for the rest of his life.
3) His offending
Dialogue is banned; and in an action not announced at the trial,
publication of any of his works is forbidden, including any he might write in
Galileo's work advocating
on the Index of banned books until 1758.
His sentence prohibited him
from "teaching, defending or discussing"
In Germany, the works of
Johannes Kepler are also
banned by papal order.
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