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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Baroque Century

Wrongly the seventeenth century is generally perceived by common people as an epoch of low instances and scarce achievements. As matter of fact, in the history of humanity  it lies mashed between the sparkling sixteenth century of Renaissance and the eighteenth age of Enlightenment.
But if we seriously focus only some of   the great thinkers who lived in the sixteenth century then it will be easy for us to realize the big mistake which is to misevaluate the baroque century.
In this very century, I set the first part of my novel “Ten days which never happened”, where fourteen main writers and their friends of the Academia of Celati (Academy of Hidden Writers) in Lamole - Tuscany, are compelled to hide away from Holy Inquisition because they have decided to translate in to vulgar language the Sacred Scripture against the 1596 Pope Clemente VII’s Decree, who wanted the Holy Bible still to be published only in Latin ancient language (incomprehensible to most  people).
Still remains a great question: up to where can manhood  push his thirst of knowledge? Is it right to go beyond anyway? Is it correct to restraint the longing of manhood to break all the frontiers of knowledge? And who is titled to check scientist, poets and all the men who feel free to research the truth anyway and anywhere? Such questions are still of topical actuality and is not in the intentions of our magazine to dare to give any answers to them. I can personally only say that when I was much younger than today, my answer would be simply aimed to deny any chance of control or censorship.
But now I’m not so sure anymore.
Between the  Most Influential People of the 17th Century we must number Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and  Isaac Newton (1643-1727). Without them  we would still be one hundred years behind where we are now.
Angelo Ruggeri shows in his analysis of Milton’s masterpiece “The lost Paradise” how the English author (another great mind of the seventeenth century) has been influenced by Galilei’s theory that earth is not the center of the universe but in fact it revolves around the sun. Copernicus had laid out this theory almost a century before Galileo came around, but Galileo was the man who was able to prove this using his telescope and observations of the planetary movements.
He also shows in a selection of works, how Milton, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, Torquato Tasso and other great minds of this century, have handle and dealt with such a sensitive subject and  why the established power counteracted their thoughts.
He finally gives evidence of how Giordano Bruno, Torquato Tasso  and Galileo Galilei influenced Milton’s masterpiece “The lost Paradise”.
Galileo was even convicted by the Church because he thought  we did not need a higher authority to provide us with knowledge, but in fact, we could seek knowledge for ourselves.
And what about  Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) and Rene Descartes (1596-1650)? Kepler was one of the most important scientists of his age. Kepler was able to describe how planets moved around specific orbits. His ideas were  fundamental in putting together the puzzle of what our universe actually is while Descartes was a mover and shaker on two fronts, one being his great advancements in mathematics and  in Philosophy too.
Also  John Locke (1632-1704)  and Francis Bacon (1561-1626) belong to this great gallery of geniuses; and I don’t need, I’m sure, to talk you about  William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) and William Harvey (1578-1657) two  of the most great minds of any time, one in the field  of   Literature, the second in Medicine subject.
And we could follow numbering Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) Hugo Grotius (1583 -1645) Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679 Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716) and many others I don’t have the time and the space to remember here now.
by Ignazio Salvatore Basile

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