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   The Trial and Condemnation of Galileo As soon as it was published, the Dialogue began to be spread about in Italy and abroad, thanks in no small part to the numerous copies that Galileo had sent to friends and influential people. Father Riccardi also received a copy, the one that was sent by the inquisitor of Florence to the Holy Office and then redirected, as usual, to him. In the letter of reply to the inquisitor (March 6, 1632), Riccardi acknowledged receipt of the book without any comment on the matter. Galileo’s friends welcomed the Dialogue with enthusiasm, although frank reservations on the argument from the tides were not lacking. Of course, among the most enthusiastic was Castelli, who had been able to borrow from Cardinal Francesco Barberini a copy of the book, namely, one of those left unbound (in order to avoid the severe quarantine measures taken because of the raging plague) that had arrived in Rome at the end of April. In the letter sent to Galileo on May 29, Castelli manifested his great admiration for the new work. At the end he added: Monsignor Ciampoli continues to carry out his assignment, and there is no news other than the previous; and monsignor carries 161 Fantoli-06_Layout 1 1/16/12 12:47 PM Page 161 on splendidly, with due esteem for the masters, and laughing to himself at the things of the world, as they deserve. (Galileo, Opere, 14:358) This additional remark was intended as an answer to a question addressed to him by Galileo, as to rumors that were going about in Florence that Ciampoli had fallen out of favor with Urban VIII. In spite of Castelli’s reassuring words, Ciampoli in fact had lost the pope’s confidence since the month before. One of the important reasons is perhaps that he had aligned himself with the group of the Spanish-leaning cardinals at a political moment extremely difficult for Urban VIII. From the beginning of his pontificate, the pope had supported France with the aim of counterbalancing the weight of a Hapsburg hegemony, which could have been the fruit of an understanding between Spain and the German Empire. As a result, he had now found himself, in one of the most dramatic phases of the Thirty Years War, in favor of an agreement between the King of France, Louis XIII, the Duke of Bavaria (representing the neutral Catholic League of Germany), and the Protestant Gustavus Adolphus, the King of Sweden, at that time at the apex of his military successes against the German Empire. This was considered by the partisans of Spain and of the empire as a betrayal of the Catholic cause. In March 1632 the tension between the Hapsburg party and the pope became manifest in a most clamorous way. During a consistory, Cardinal Gaspare Borgia, who carried out the functions of ambassador of Spain, openly attacked Urban VIII, with accusations of favoring the cause of the heretics, and invited him to show that same “apostolic zeal” which had characterized his “more pious and more glorious” predecessors. A different reason for why Ciampoli had fallen out of favor with Urban VIII is that given by Ambassador Niccolini. The pope had written a pastoral letter in Latin and distributed copies of it as a first showing among the cardinals and the members of the diplomatic corp. It seems that Ciampoli criticized the Latin style of the pope, composing a more elegant letter and showing it to several people. This would have deeply wounded Urban VIII. 162 ✦ The Case of Galileo Fantoli-06_Layout 1 1/16/12 12:47 PM Page 162 The situation had been made even thornier for the pope because of accusations of nepotism and of earthly ambitions, made against him by certain Romans. Urban VIII sensed that he would have to intervene before it was too late. And that led to a hardening of his position, a susceptibility born of exasperation and suspicion, which characterizes this period of his pontificate. Ciampoli was one of the first victims of this new posture of the pope. We will see right away its equally negative influence with respect to Galileo. Besides the praise and admiration of Galileo’s friends, the Dialogue had certainly begun also to awaken the suspicion and the indignation of his enemies. This, however, must have occurred after some delay, since only a few copies of the book had reached Rome by the end of June...


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