What Was the Price of Free Thought When Giordano Bruno Taught the Copernican System Throughout Europe?

The immediate reaction to Nicolaus Copernicus’s book on heliocentric cosmology was minimal.

It opened the eyes of some scientists, but most people continued to believe in the Ptolemaic system, probably because it made humans seem more important.

By the end of the 1500s, an Italian scientist and philosopher named Giordano Bruno started to teach the Copernican system throughout Europe.

At the time, the Catholic church was waging a war called the Inquisition against nonbelievers.

The church declared Bruno a heretic, or nonbeliever, and ordered him to stop teaching about Copernicus.

He refused and was burned at the stake in 1600.

Many other scholars were condemned to similar deaths for teaching the alleged heresy of Copernicus.

The great Italian astronomer Galileo had been teaching the Copernican system for many years when he was called before the Inquisition in Rome in 1633.

He was offered the choice of supporting Ptolemy’s views or being burned at the stake.

Galileo reluctantly said, “Ptolemy was the correct scholar.”