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    The Copernican Doctrine Is Declared to Be Contrary to Holy Scripture In spite of Ambassador Guicciardini’s contrary opinion, Galileo put in practice his plan to go to Rome, where he arrived in the first days of December 1615. Judging from the first conversations upon his arrival, he wrote an optimistic letter to Secretary of the Grand Duke Picchena. Later on, however, he became aware of the “very vigorous impressions” made by his opponents on many authoritative persons, and of the necessity of taking an action in depth to neutralize them. Galileo began, therefore, to carry out a program of feverish activity, availing himself of all the resources of his very skillful polemical art. Having been silenced with respect to science, and often ridiculed by him, Galileo’s opponents took revenge by spreading malicious rumors and calumnies about him. And this forced him to prolong his stay in Rome, in order to destroy them. As time went on, the situation became ever more confused and tense. And even Galileo’s friends had to employ many precautions in dealing with him so as not to raise suspicions and criticisms. 97 Fantoli-04_Layout 1 1/16/12 12:47 PM Page 97 Among Galileo’s opponents in Roman educated circles, a special place was held by the priest Francesco Ingoli (1578–1649), who had probably known Galileo in Padua. Ingoli was at the service of an influential member of the Congregation of the Index, Cardinal Bonifacio Caetani, and was a person of wide interests, among them astronomy. Always taking an active part in theological, philosophical, and scientific discussions, he had one such discussion with Galileo in the house of Lorenzo Magalotti, a future cardinal. He then put in writing directed to Galileo his defense of his anti-Copernican position, under the title Disputation on the Location and Stability of the Earth. Appointed in March of the following year as consultor of the Congregation of the Index, Ingoli would extend his anti-Copernican activity even with respect to Kepler. Galileo was prevented from answering to Ingoli by the decisions taken by the Church in February of the following year, and he would not be able to do so until eight years later. At the beginning of February, Galileo had a meeting with Caccini at the latter’s request. According to the report Galileo gave to Picchena, the Dominican had excused himself for the words used in his sermon and had offered to give to Galileo whatever satisfaction he might desire. And he had tried to make him believe that he was not responsible for the rumors that had spread about Rome concerning Galileo. When other visitors joined them, the conversation shifted to the Copernican controversy and as the conversation proceeded Caccini showed himself to be “very far from understanding what would be required in these matters .” At the end, Galileo wrote, Caccini “went back to his first reasoning and sought to dissuade me from that which I know for certain” (Galileo, Opere, 12:231). About the same time, Galileo had asked the grand duke for permission to go to Naples, undoubtedly so that he could meet with Father Foscarini. The intent must have been to specify with the Carmelite a decisive effort in the Copernican campaign, so much more so since Galileo was by this time convinced that he had an important argument in support of the Copernican system: the one derived from the phenomenon of the tides, an idea that had first occurred to Galileo about twenty years earlier. It was put in the form of a letter with the title Discourse on the Ebb and Flow of the Tides, and had been sent a month earlier 98 ✦ The Case of Galileo Fantoli-04_Layout 1 1/16/12 12:47 PM Page 98 to the very young Cardinal Alessandro Orsini (1593–1626). The latter was an admirer of Galileo and one in whose help Galileo had placed great hopes, as he himself declared to Picchena on February 6, asking for a special recommendation of the grand duke to the cardinal. Orsini , as we will soon see, took to heart Galileo’s problem, but with quite a different result than the one Galileo had hoped for. In spite of the situation, Galileo had not yet completely lost his optimism. He had the impression that the doubts concerning his orthodoxy had by now been cleared up to the satisfaction of the Roman authorities. And this must have, at least in part...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780268158583
Related ISBN
9780268028916
MARC Record
OCLC
785782433
Pages
280
Launched on MUSE
2012-11-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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