Giordano Bruno: His Life and Thought

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1 Public Record Office, Hist. MSS Comm., Salisbury Papers, III, 1585-89 (1889), pp. 110, 112-3. The letter is dated from Paris, 1585 Oct. 24/Nov. 3 and is addressed to Archibald Douglas. This was presumably the parson of Glasgow, grandson of the second Earl of Morton. Douglas was involved in intrigues for Mary of Scots, and was accused of complicity in the murder both of Rizzio and of Darnley. He was acquitted of both charges, and is said to have won the favour of Elizabeth by disclosing to her his transactions with Mary. Elizabeth sent Douglas in 1586 on a diplomatic mission to the court of King James, and he returned from Scotland as the King's ambassador to Elizabeth, a post he held for only a year. In 1593 he was deposed from the parsonage of Glasgow for neglect of duty and he is stated to have resigned from the position in 1597!

2 Doc. Ven. XVII.

3 Cf. App. I, 13. Pierre Dalbène, or Delbène, presumably belonged to the ancient and distinguished Florentine family. Nicholas Delbène migrated from Florence and settled at the end of the fourteenth century in France where he and his descendants held various posts of honour. The Augustine Abbey of Belleville in Beaujollais, in the diocese of Lyons, was a twelfth century foundation.

4 Bruno's list is Auscultatio physica; De coelo et mundo; De generatione et corruptione ("in two books and a third which is without reason attached as Bk. 4 to the Meteorologica"); Meteorologica; De mineralibus; De plantis; "books on animals, De generatione animalium and De animalibus"; and "On the origin [principio] of generation, life, motion, of vegetative life, of sentience and of reasoning in De anima and in the Parva naturalia." Bruno adds that he has not included the Problemata since it is itself a commentary on the others. He of course does not know that the Problemata is spurious.

5 Mordente's first work Il compasso et riga was published at Antwerp in 1584 and reprinted in Paris in 1585. See P. Riccardi Biblioteca Matematica Italiana (2 Parts, Modena, 1873-6, 1893), Part I, Vol. i, Coll. 198-9; and Part I, Vol. ii, Col. 184. It appeared again in a volume bearing the names as joint authors of Fabrizio Mordente and his brother Gaspari who had served with Bruno's father in the Nola militia. The title of this volume is La quadratura del cerchio, la scienza de' residui; il compasso et riga. It was published in Antwerp in 1591 under the patronage of the Farnese. See Riccardi loc. cit., Part I, Corr. et. Agg., Ser. V, Coll. 110-11. (The earlier editions may well have borne also this longer title. No copies of them appear to be known.) Only one other work by Fabrizio Mordente is recorded. The Catalogue of the Magliabecchi Library (now incorporated in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence) cites a volume by him, now lost: Le proposizione per sapere come da numero a numero la proporzione ch'è fra qualsivoglia due date specie di quantità d' un medesimo genere misurabili o pesabili, create o fabbricate dall' arte; per sapere per numeri le radici quadre de' humeri non quadrati ... (Rome, 1597). See Riccardi loc. cit., Part I, Corr. et Agg., Ser. III, Col. 180. Riccardi cites from Leonardo Nicodemo Addizioni copiose alla biblioteca napoletana del D. Niccolo Toppi ... (Naples, 1683), another edition of this work, published in Rome in 1598. See Riccardi loc cit., Part I, Vol. ii, Coll. 183-4. This is cited also by J. C. Brunet Manuel du Libraire (6 Vols., Paris, 1860-65), Vol. III, Col. 1892, from the Libri 1857 Catalogue (where it bears the number 1365). No copy of the work in either edition appears to be known now. Fabricius Mordente was in fact not without recognition, for when Bruno reached Prague in 1588, Mordente was Imperial Astronomer. In the title of the 1598 volume, he is described as Mathematician to the Emperor Rodolph II. Moreover, Michel Coignet, himself the inventor of a "pantometer or proportional compass," and Mathematician to Prince Albert Farnese, Duke of Parma, published in Antwerp in 1608 ... Della forma et parti del compasso di Fabritio Mordente Salernitano. Con gli usi di esso...; and in Paris in 1626 La géométrie réduite en un facile et briefve praticque, par deux excellens instrumens, don't l'une est le pantometre ou compas de proportion de Michel Connette ... L'autre est l'usage du compas a huict poinctes inuenté par Fabrice Mordente ... See Riccardi loc. cit., Part I, Corr. et Agg., Ser. IV, Col. 205; and Part I, Vol. ii, Col. 184.

6 See App. I, 14a-b.

7 This diary was discovered in the Bibliothèque Nationale (MS fr. 20309 ff. 354v seqq.) by L. Auvray, who published "Giordano Bruno à Paris d'après le témoignage d'un contemporain 1585-6" in Mémoires de la societé de l'histoire de Paris et de l'lle-de-France, XXIV (Paris, 1900), 288-99. The paper has been reprinted frequently. The entries in Cotin's diary are given as Documenti Parigini in Spampanato, Vita di Giordano Bruno and in Spampanato, Documenti della vita di Giordano Bruno. Cf. also F. Yates, The French Academies of the Sixteenth Century (Warburg Institute, London, 1947), pp. 17-18, 229-30.

8 Doc. Par. II.

9 Doc. Par. VII.

10 Doc. Par. III. Matthaeus Bossulus had taught Rhetoric at the University of Valencia in Spain and was a famous orator. In 1583 he was Rector of the small College of Boncourt (founded at Paris in 1353). Since he won Bruno's praise, we are not surprised to hear that Bossulus was condemned for heresy, but he was later reinstated and established a reputation for eloquence.

11 Francesco de Toledo (1532-1596) was a Spaniard of humble origin. He studied in Valencia and in Salamanca where he became professor. In 1558 he joined the Jesuits, and was sent by Francisco Borgia to Rome where he acquired fame as philosopher and theologian. He became Preacher in Ordinary to Pius V (1569) and to succeeding Popes. He was employed on several diplomatic journeys and he took part in the negotiations leading to the absolution of Henry IV of France. In 1593 he received the Cardinal's hat from Clement VIII. Francesco de Toledo wrote on Logic, and produced numerous Aristotelian commentaries besides sermons and theological works. Cotin also records from these conversations Bruno's disapproval of Cujas and of Passerat. Jacques Cujas (1522-1590), renowned for his knowledge and exposition of Roman law, had held several Chairs and was at this date professor at Bourges where he was occupied on his great text and commentary of the Corpus juris. His pupil, Jean Passerat (1534-1602), had abandoned the law and in 1572 had succeeded Ramus as Professor of Rhetoric and Poetry at the Collège de France. He was somewhat suspect as a partisan of the Huguenots but was a popular figure in Paris.

12 App. I, 15. It would be pleasant to trace the further fate of John Hennequin who so doughtily but unsuccessfully stood for his teacher's doctrine. He is presumably the young Doctor of Law (perhaps of the noble family descended from the Artois), who wrote Notae ad aceursum et glossae, published with Peter Brosseus Thesaurus aecursianus (Lyons, 1589, and Vienna, 1606), and also wrote Le guidon général des finances (Paris, 1605). Perhaps it was he who became "Intendant of France"? (Zedler, Universal Lexicon, XII, 1406).

13 Claude Pierre Goujet, Bibliothèque française ou histoire de la littérature française (Paris, 1752), XIV, 119-35.

14 The dedication to Filesac is reproduced by C. E. de Boulay, Historia universitatis Parisiensis (Paris, 1673), VI, 786. Jean Filesac (1550?-1638) was himself a voluminous writer on theological subjects.

15 Doc. Ven. IX.

16 Quoted as Doeumento Tedescho I by Spampanato, from the manuscript Jahrbücher of the University of Marburg. The name of the irate Rector was Petrus Nigidius, Doctor of Law and Professor of Moral Philosophy.

17 Cf. pp. 31, 43, 102 seqq., 112-13.

18 App. I, 16, 17, 19.

19 App. I, 18.

20 App. I, 16. Though printed in 1587, the work would seem to have been drafted at the end of 1586, for a volume now in the Kreis und Stadt Bibliothek of Augsburg contains, besides certain manuscript works of Bruno, a copy of this printed volume with marginal glosses and with the manuscript "title-page," Lampas combinatoria lulliana tradita privatim in Academia Witebergense a Jordano Bruno Nolano, CICIC XIVC. (See App. III, p. 220.) Another copy of this work (now in the former ducal library of Gotha) bears the following inscription in Bruno's hand: "Admodum generoso, nobili studiosissimoque D. lacobo Cunoni Francofurtensi benevolentiae ergo et in sui memoriam dedicavit author" (Spampanato, Vita, II, 668, Doc. Ted. X). Sigwart observes that Cuno figures in the list of matriculants at the University of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder for the winter term 1569-70. He is described as "Jacob Cuno, son of Master Jacob Cuno the distinguished astronomer of the Elector of Brandenburg." This master Jacob Cuno published works on mathematics and astronomy, and at least one on astrology. (See Christopher Sigwart, Kleine Schriften [2 vols., Freiburg, 1889], I, 294-95.)

21 The Rector of Wittenberg was Petrus Albinus Nivemontius. Cf. extract from the Album of the University cited by Spampanato (Vita, II, 664, Doc. Ted. I). He was an historian whose ancestor Weisen, or Weiss, had been ennobled by the Emperor Maximilian in 1497. His birthplace, as indicated by the name, was Schneeberg in Meissen. He studied at Leipzig and Frankfurt and was Historiographer of Chur in Saxony and "State Secretary at Dresden" to the princes Augustus and Christian I of Chur, successively. These posts he held at the same time as his professorship at Wittenberg University.

22 Cf. pp. 77-8.

23 App. I, 17. George Mylius was a Lutheran theologian. Born at Augsburg in 1544 he studied at Tübingen, Marburg and Strasbourg. He held several church appointments and in 1579 became Rector of the Evangelical Theological College at Augsburg. Difficulties ensued as he opposed the Gregorian Calendar, and he had to retire to Ulm. In 1584 he became Professor of Theology at Wittenberg. In 1589 (the year after Bruno's departure) Mylius became Professor of Theology at Jena, but in 1603 he was appointed again to Wittenberg where he remained until his death in 1607.

24 App. I, xii.

25 App. I, xiii, xiv, and xv.

26 Or to the "Philippist" sect. See Cambridge Modern History, III, 711. In some respects, the rule of Christian I appears to have been more liberal than that of his predecessor.

27 App. I, 19.

28 A long notice in Zedler is devoted to the ancient and distinguished family of von Warnsdorf, early settled in the region, and ennobled by the Emperor Frederick I in 1190 for crusading service. The Album is now in the Public Library of Stuttgart. The verse is on fol. 117. On fol. 31 of the same volume occurs the signature of Michael Forgacz of Hungary. The Forgacz or Forgach family belonged to the Hungarian nobility and owned land at Ghymes (Gimes). Francis Forgacz was a Cardinal in the sixteenth century. Cf. Alexius Horanyi, Memoria hungarorum et provincialium scriptis editis notorum (3 vols., Vienna, 1775-77), I, 682-98. The name of Michael Forgacz comes up again in connection with Bruno's return to Italy in 1592. Cf. p. 58, n. 4; and cf. Sigwart, Kleine Schriften.

29 This was the property of M. Olschki of Florence and was published by F. Tocco, "Un nuovo autografo di G. Bruno," in La bibliofilia (Florence, 1906), IX, 342-45.

30 Cf. pp. 135-7.

31 App. I, 20 (a) and (b).

32 App. I, xvi, xvii (a) and (b), xviii. The last is a loose leaf of parchment, and therefore cannot quite definitely be linked with the other parts of the manuscript volume in which it was found (cf. App. III). Tocco and Vitelli are inclined to ascribe it to the year 1589, but they suggest it may have been written in Frankfurt about 1590-91. Cf. Op. lat., III, xxix, xx.

33 App. I, 21.

34 Talari is Bruno's word. We may recall that the word dollar in fact derives from a Tal or valley in Bohemia. The silver mines of the small settlement of Konradsgrün and Thal (later Joachimsthal or Jachymov) near Carlsbad were exploited at least as early as 1512. In 1518 the owner, Count Stepan Slik, established a mint in which were coined the first "Joachimsthaler Groschen." These coins came to be called Slik's tallars, whence the modern word dollar. Jachymov has in modern times become famous for its radium. Cf., F. Behounek and F. Ulrich, "Jachymov Radium" in Selections from Czecho-Slovak Literature and Sciences (The American Institute in Czecho-Slovakia, Prague, 1935).

35 App. I, 22.

36 This is numbered 360 novorum fol, among the Archives of Helmstedt University now in the library of Wolfenbüttel. Cf. Doc. Ted. VI. See App. I, xix (Op. lat., III, xii, xiii). The Pro-Rector was Daniel Hofmann, no friend to strange beliefs. The Chief Pastor was Boethius, who himself came later under ecclesiastical censure. Cf. E. L. T. Henke, Die Universität Helmstadt in 16ten Jahrhundert (Halle, 1833), p. 69.

37 These letters are now in the library of Erlangen, MS. 1826 (Cf. Doc. Ted. VII and VIII).

38 Sigwart (Kleine Schriften, Vol. I) found the record of Besler's matriculation. He also makes the interesting point that pp. 11-86 of the Moscow MS. in Besler's hand (cf. App. III) are on the same paper as Bruno's letter to the Rector of Helmstedt.

39 App. I, xx-xxiv.

40 Cf. p. 18.

41 De magia (Op. lat., III, 400).

42 Op. lat., III, 402.

43 Ibid., III, 407-8, 415.

44 Ibid., III, 408.

45 Ibid., III, 414.

46 Ibid., III, 509-10.

47 App. I, xxv. Spampanato (Doc. Ted. IX) prints the petition, in so far as it is legible. Reference to it occurs in the Protocol Book of the Council of Frankfurt (J. Lewis Mclntyre, Giordano Bruno [London, I903], p. 63). The Book of the Burgomaster under the same date records the refusal (Sigwart, op. cit., p. 121).

48 App. I, 23.

49 He is described in this and the subsequent Dedications as Prince Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg and Bishop of Halberstadt. Henry Julius had held the Bishopric since childhood, when it was conferred on him as part of a settlement between Protestant and Catholic claims in the Empire. Cf. Cambridge Modern History, III, 153.

50 The indefatigable Wechel also obtained permission for printing and publication (Sigwart, op. cit., pp. 121-22).

51 The bookseller John Brictanus of Antwerp testified to having known Bruno, first at Frankfurt, then at Zurich, subsequently at Venice (Doc. Ven. VII).

52 App. I, xxvi (Cf. xxx).

53 App. I, 24. Ad Joan. Hainricum Haincellium Elcouiae dominum. In the title to the dedication we have: Heinrico Eincellio.

54 Op. lat., II, iii, 89-93.

55 Raffaele Eglinus or Eglinus Iconius (1559-1628) had himself a somewhat chequered career. Born at Goetz in Switzerland, he studied at various centres in that country, spending two years under Beza at Geneva. Before he met Bruno, he had successively held the posts of Pedagogus alumnorum at Bâle, and of Dean and Professor of the New Testament at the School of Zurich Cathedral. Soon after his appointment to the latter position, we find him under various pseudonyms, publishing works on alchemy. Perhaps his interest in this art was not unconnected with the debts which, we are told, forced him to leave Zurich in 1601. He was also accused of having embraced Catholicism, which he denied. His correspondence with the Church authorities in Zurich suggests that it was his alchemical preoccupations that led to his dismissal from his professorship at the Cathedral. Quite in the manner of Bruno, he was given 25 guilders travelling expenses for his departure. He was fortunate, however, in gaining the patronage of the Landgraf Maurice of Hesse who (again supplying travelling expenses and admonishing him to relinquish alchemy) appointed him Professor of Theology at Marburg where he remained for the rest of his life. His theological works included a genealogy of Jesus. See J. J. Simmler, Sammlung alter und neuer Urkunden zur Beleuchtung der Kirchengeschichte des Schweizerlands (Zurich, 1767), II, 803, 816. The name Iconius is an adaptation of "from Goetz," as explained by Raffaele's father in a letter written from Chur on 21st September, 1571, to Bullinger (cf. Simmler, II, 803).

56 App. I, xxviii.

57 App. I, xxix (a) and (b). Only three copies of the 1609 volume are known to exist. Bound up with the volume is an extract from the pseudo-Athanasian Definitions edited by Rodolphus Goclinius Senior, of which, however, the style and language have nothing in common with the writings of Bruno. Rudolph Goeckel, Senior (1547-1628), was professor of philosophy at Marburg and was a poet. He wrote much on logic as well as on philosophy and ethics.

58 App. I, 24.

59 App. I, 25, 26.

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