Customised search for historical information

12 April 2009

On this day in history: Galileo interrogated by the Inquisition, 1633

Following the publication of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, the Inquisition summoned Galileo Galilei to Rome for interrogation. Galileo had managed to alienate Pope Urban VIII by ridiculing Urban's geocentric opinions in the Dialogue, ending the protection that the Pontiff had previously given to Galileo. The insult was probably unintentional but it was enough for the Pope to allow the Inquisition to effectively charge Galileo with heresy. They charged him with promoting the Copernican idea that the Earth orbited the Sun, rather than being the centre of the Universe as per the orthodox geocentric view.

The interrogation began on 12th April, 1633, and lasted for until the 30th April. During the questioning, Galileo was detained in the Inquisition's building, albeit in luxurious apartments. Following a plea bargain where Galileo would recant some of his claims in return for a more lenient sentence, the Church officials sentenced him to house arrest, under which he remained for the rest of his life.

To learn more about Galileo see the Galileo Project website at Rice University.

Related posts
Foundation stone of Royal Greenwich Observatory laid, 10th August 1675