Why did they burn
Giordano Bruno?

Giordano Bruno was born at Nola in 1548. We remember him as a disciple of Copernic, but as a Renascence man , he explored every field. Author of theatre plays, inventor of mnemotechny, philosopher, he also formulated, nineteen years before Galileo, the principle of inertia,greatest discovery of his time. If héliocentrism upseted minds, it has no much practicle applications, while the principle of inertia, less spectacular, opened the door for all modern science. The reason why it is attributated to Galileo is that the latter based it uponexperiments.The irony is that Galileo experiment, we know it today, were fakes. Their precision exceeded widely then-available instruments capacities.

But Bruno was above alla philosopher with greatest daring. The world in which he was born, created by a God of kindness, sheltered the only one inhabited planet, motionless right in the center of a finite and small sky, simple threshold of Paradise, ruled, allready, by divine providence. The universe for which he died, in the eternal silence of an infinite foresook to a blind doom an infinity of worlds, increated, allways moving peopled by infinite extraterrestrial civilisations and infinite souls without any hope os salvation.

Why did they burn Bruno and not Galileo? Why did the Church apologize, even five century latter, for having intimidated Galileo but never regreted having burnt Bruno? Behind a superficial analogy, their cases are uterly different. Firstly, Galileo, like Copernic are scientists. They don't care about religion and if their discoveries may contradict Church des représentatives convictions, it's not on purpose. Bruno, during his trial, clamed being in the same case. But this was only some clever defence. Giordano Bruno never was a scientist. Among thesis for which he was reproached, reincarnation, non-creation of the world and non-virginity of Marie bothered certainly most his accusators than the respective motionsof Earth and the sun.He is an unfrocked priest, anarchist long before first anarchists, disgusted with religion and self declared enemy of christianism, through which he sees hypocrisy, mass exploitation, obscurantism and persécution. If his enemies will finally par lui donner raison, at least about the latest point, he will do his best to get it.
For, this is the second difference with Galileo and his associates. They bents like reed,he stands or fall like oak. Galileo, who allready shown himself smarter with the principle of inertia understands better that "Yet it moves." is a sentence that should only be whispered. Bruno during seven years, from 1593till the end that we know, will play with his torturers an incredible game. He recants... yet not uterly. He never meant that... but il maintains that... He abjureseverything, but on condition the Pope lui donne raison! One day, all that he have to do before to go out is to sign a declaration whose he negociated the least comma and, at once, some doubt bothers him about a detail.Meanwhile, he is starved, tortured and it seems that it's him whoruns the show. He wears his tormentors out, he exhausts the Supreme Inquisitor Suprême, the Cardinal of Santaseverina,he kills his torturers with work.

NEVERTHELESS, ALL IS NOT CLEAR IN BRUNO CASE.In the begining, it's a banal litigation between the philosopher and his landlord, a simple case of unpayed rent. But Mocenigo, the landlord, who knows that Bruno allready meet inquisition tribunals and who seems to have heard quite a lot about the Pope, the Virgin and tutti quanti, from his tenant mouth, rather than to bring a suit to him denounces him to venitian inquisition. The trial begins on May 26 1592. Bruno, with more skill than sincerity, pleads purely scientist search independent of any faith question. He adds to this the deapest repent, to play which he carries out without denying an only word from whath he is charged with having said. And he makes a triumph. The judges narrowly don't kiss him. After every trial, Venise inquisitor sends to his coleague of Roma a report. Pure formality, venitian justice is independent . Rome is informed, so to speak, by politeness. On Septembre 12, Giordano Bruno last joke gets a gruesome look. For the first and only time in History, Roma contests a venitian verdict, by claiming the accused extradition. Why?

What justifies such a care from Roma about a case coming from a rent quarrel? At this time Bruno has not the prestige of some Galileo, it's the Church who will make his fame.He is accused of having published books that censure let circulate and said in private discussions thing whose he repents without reluctance. Nothing which could justify a diplomatic incident. Yet, it's become indeed an affair of state. It's the Cardinal of Santaseverina who claims the impertinent one extradition. And when his claim is dismissed, far from going back, Roma sets a higer character against Venise . Higer than the Supreme Inquisitor? It's now the Pope who claims Bruno. And he sends to Venise no less than the Apostolic Nuncio, Ludovico Taverna, himself. On december 22, Taverna supports the Pope's request before venitian College. The extradition being not juridically founded, he lies about Bruno's juridical past. And everybody knows that he lies. He wins the tug of war and, on January 9, a galley takes Giordano Bruno to his doom.

At Roma, oddities go on. After the zeal shown in order to recover the public enemy, one would expect a quick end. The stake in fifeteen days, that's how things went one at this time. Well...no! There will be, to start with it, two years of trial. Let's admit it. And then, when only the verdict is left to make, they uterly forget the accused,during three more years. Then they exhort him to abjur. The begins this long comedia, see above, whose last act is played in public, on february 16 1600.

One last detail. The legendary answer of Giordano Bruno to his judges: You are more affraid than me. was not utered from the stake but in the tribunal. On the stake, he said nothing at all. For the good reason that they cut his tongue. According to some sources they just gaged him.However, there was quiet a hurry to get him silent since, anyway, he would speak anymore a few minutes after. They justify this by the insults that he would have yelled to his judges. Yet this is quite strange, considering that the Church, like latter stalinian procurators, allways tried to win the game by the public contrition of convicted ones much rather than by the execution itself. When you think about efforts spent during heigt years to obtain Bruno contrition!

In my novel, Le onzième manuscrit , (french site since for a french book), I explain all the oddities of Bruno case. But I am affraid this (imaginary) explanation is more bizarrethan the mystery that it solves. However, there is more than one other puzzle that is involved in this book. I devoted the pages below to some of them.
Did realy the alchimist Nicolas Flamel change lead into gold?
Who was Jack the Ripper?
Did Christophe Colombus realy discover america? Yes it's an earnest question. Click, you'll see.
Is it mathematicaly possible to translate a text in an absolutely unknown langage?
Has Atlantis ever existed?

If you like images and comic books you may also take a look at my sites about comics.

Page and text © G. Courtial, reproduction forbiden. Illustration Galileo by Sustermans, Museum of the Offices, Florence.