galileo_before_the_holy_officeIn 1633, a twenty-three year old intellectual dispute exploded into the most famous trial for heresy of the time. The process was not desired by any of the parties. Pope Urban was an old school friend of Galileo. He was an intellectual with an extraordinary education. He knew most of the books that had fed Galileo in his ideas. Galileo also did not want any confrontation with the church. And he thought he had obeyed all the rules that had been laid down in his previous confrontation with the church. Even since 1610, when he published The Starry Messenger he had been engaged in a huge debate about the nature of the universe. HIs book with its revolutionary observations using the new telescope contained data that strengthened the Copernican theory about the heliocentric universe. Galileo. of course. agreed with Copernicus. And he knew that his book would stoke the fires of controversy. But only slowly did the debate grow into a major controversy that swept up all the different faculties in the universities. By 1633, the now long running debate reached an explosion when Galileo published another book Dialogue on Two World Systemsin which he added more information to the debate. His old friend the Pope could no longer stand aside and both men were drawn into the life and death struggle. At this moment Rome was at the center of the huge debate, a debate that had been going on for 100 years. But now with all the new data that Galileo had provided, more and more scientists were beginning to agree with Copernicus.


This is the best one-volume history of Italy that includes the modern part that we want. It provides you with a nice introduction to earlier periods and those of you who studied the Renaissance last year will find these chapters an easy review. You can read about the earlier periods a bit each week tip you get up to 1600. We will use the book all year.

Christopher Duggan,

A Concise History of Italy,

Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (January 20, 2014),

ISBN 0521747430


I highly recommend this wonderful book to you and am delighted that it is now available in a paperback edition. It is a book that will capture your heart as you read of Galileo's extraordinary daughter Suor Maria Celeste and read her touching letters to her beloved father. We will visit her monastery on our Galileo night, so it will be a great night with beautiful pictures of the hills south of Florence where Galileo and his daughter lived their lives.

Dava Sobel,

Galileo's Daughter,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 0140280553