“Maiori forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam” – Giordano Bruno, February 8th 1600.
What is today one of the trendiest piazzas in Rome, Campo de’ Fiori, picturesque corner resting between fountain-clothed Piazza Navona and Trastevere, the quaint, laid-back heart of medieval Rome, has been once upon a time place of fear, intolerance and persecution.
Sadly, due to the Inquisition, during the Middle Ages Rome faced the same terror Cordoba did.
The man in this picture is Giordano Bruno, Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, astronomer and mathematician sentenced to death and burnt at the stake right where his statue is standing today. He had been tortured and finally murdered for… essentially nothing, which is the main reason why at that time the Inquisition used to torture and kill many other people. This nothingness usually assumed the name of “heresy”.
Rigid doctrines, fear of the unknown, deep ignorance, intolerance, backwardness and, please allow me, a good dose of mental instability, was what characterized the Catholic Church back then.
Reading the work of Erasmo of Rotterdam, rejecting the traditional geocentrism cherished by the Church (seemingly, at the time, the main expert in scientific issues), but especially the modernity of his own ideas and theories was what condemned Giordano Bruno to death. I guess it’s the destiny of all great minds to live in an era where their value is belittled, misjudged and voluntarily stopped for fear of seeing the current powers undermined.
When his sentence was pronounced, Giordano Bruno said the famous words “Maiori forsan cum timore sententiam in me fertis quam ego accipiam” (It may be you fear more to deliver judgement upon me than I fear judgement), and when he was dying, on February 17th 1600, he refused to look at the crucifix, with which he was sharing the destiny, and which the Church wanted to make appear as his torturer.