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Galileo Galilei – born on this day (15th February) 1564

On This Day (15 Feb) 1564 Galileo Galilei was born

Here is a portrait of Galileo from one of the Cathedral Library’s two copies of “[Dialogo… dove… si discorre sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo. Latin] Galilaei Galilaei… Systema cosmicum; in quo dialogis IV de duobus maximis mundi systematibus, Ptolemaico & Copernicano, rationibus utrinque propositis indefinitè disseritur; accessit locorum S. Scripturae cum terrae mobilitate conciliatio; [translated from the Italian by Matthias Bernegger]” (1641).

Originally published in Italian in 1631, this Latin translation was published in 1641, the year before Galileo’s death. In English the title translates as “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” It is a discussion of different theories of the cosmos presented as dialogue between three characters: Salvati who supports the Copernican theory of the universe with the earth and planets orbiting the sun; Simplicio, who supports the Ptolemaic theory which places the earth at the centre; and Sagredo, a more neutral character.

Upon publication of the original text Galileo was convicted of heresy by the Inquisition, placed under house arrest, and this and others of his books were placed on the ‘Index Librorum Prohibitorum’ (List of Prohibited Books) by the Catholic church.