Giordano Bruno

A brief biography.


Giordano Bruno was born at Nola in Campania, in the Kingdom of Naples, in 1548. At the age of eleven he went to Naples, to study "humanity, logic, and dialectic", and, four years later, he entered the Order of St. Dominic in the priory at Naples, received the name of Giordano, and was ordained priest in 1572.  It seems, however, that, even as a novice, he attracted attention by the originality of his views and by his outspoken criticism of accepted theological doctrines.


After his ordination things reached such a pass that, formal accusation of heresy was brought against him in 1576.  Thereupon he went to Rome, but, apparently, did not mend his manner of speaking of the mysteries of faith;  the accusations were renewed against him at the Dominican priory of the Santa Minerva in Rome.

Within a few months of his arrival he fled Rome and cast off all allegiance to his order. He tarried awhile in several Italian cities, and in 1579 went to Geneva, Toulouse, and Lyon.where he completed his "Clavis Magna", or "Great Key" to the art of remembering.

In Paris (1581) he published several works, which further developed his art of memory training and revealed the two-fold influence of Raymond Lully and the neo-Platonists.

In 1582 he published a characteristic work, "Il candelaio", or "The Torchbearer".

While at Paris he lectured publicly on philosophy, under the auspices, as it seems, of the College of Cambrai, the forerunner of the College of France.


In 1583 he crossed over to England, and, for a time at least, enjoyed the favour of Queen Elizabeth and the friendship of Sir Philip Sidney. To the latter he dedicated the most bitter of his attacks on the Catholic Church, "Il spaccio della bestia trionfante", "The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast", published in 1584.

He visited Oxford, and, on being refused the privilege of lecturing there, he published (1584) his "Cena delle ceneri", or "Ash-Wednesday Supper", in which he attacked the Oxford professors, saying that they knew more about beer than about Greek.


In 1585 he returned to France, and during the year, which he spent in Paris at this time made several attempts to become reconciled to the Catholic Church, all of which failed because of his refusal to accept the condition imposed, namely, that he should return to his order.

In Germany, whither he went in 1587, he showed the same spirit of insolent self-assertion as at Oxford. In Helmstedt the Lutherans excommunicated him. After some time spent in literary activity at Frankfort, he went, in 1591, to Venice at the invitation of Mocenigo, who professed to be interested in his system of memory training.
But Mocenigo denounced him to the Inquisition. Bruno was arrested, and in his trial before the Venetian inquisitors first took refuge in the principle of "two-fold truth", saying that the errors imputed to him were held by him "as a philosopher, and not as an honest Christian"; later, however, he solemnly abjured all his errors and doubts in the matter of Catholic doctrine and practice (Berti, Docum., XII, 22 and XIII, 45).


In February 1593, Bruno was sent to Rome, and for six years was kept in the prison of the Inquisition.

In the spring of 1599 the trial began, and he was finally condemned (January, 1600), handed over to the secular power (8 February), and burned at the stake in the Campo dei Fiori in Rome on 17 February 1600.

Bruno was not condemned for his defence of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors, among which were the following: that Christ was not God but merely an unusually skilful magician, that the Holy Ghost is the soul of the world, etc.

He had a high degree of respect for Albert the Great and St. Thomas.





honouring 450th year of Giordano Bruno’s birth (1548-17.2.1600).


Bulgaria 1998, Mi 4363, Sc 4058.






Cover honouring Bruno's birthday in 1548 with the title of his book : De Vinculis in Genere.

This book explains how the masses can be manipulated with psychological and magical bonds, and how one can escape these snares.


Bulgaria 1999. cover.


Bruno wrote this book around 1588, during a two-year stay in Helmstedt. There are actually two versions of the text included in the Noroff codex in Moscow. A shorter, earlier version precedes the longer version. For a translation of the longer version, see Cause, Principle and Unity, and Essays on Magic edited by Richard Blackwell and Robert de Lucca (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 143-176.)



Postmark on the occasion of the 4th centenary of  Giordano Bruno’s burning at the stake in the Campo dei Fiori at Rome on 17th February 1600.  His signature?


Italy 2000. Postmark Campagna, 17.2.2000.





The initiative for a statue of Giordano Bruno was supported among others by the Dutch physiologist and writer on dietetics, Jacob Moleschott (1822-93),  born in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands on August 9, 1822. 

He studied at Heidelberg and began the practice of medicine at Utrecht in 1845, but soon moved to Heidelberg where he lectured on physiology at the university, beginning in 1847.
Controversial statements made by him in his lectures led to his resignation after seven years at Heidelberg. Afterwards, he was professor of physiology in Zurich (1856), in Turin (1861), and in Rome (1879).

He was senator of the Italian Parliament and shocked the Vatican Authorities by his effort for a statue of Giordano Bruno on the Campo dei Fiori in Rome.

The statue of Giordano Bruno was unveiled by pope Leo XIII on 9 June 1889.

Jacob Moleschott died May 20, 1893 in Rome. Source:Wikipedia.

Postmark on the occasion of the fourth centenary of Bruno's burning at the stake on the Campo dei Fiori on 17th February 17 1600 at Rome.

His statue on the Campo dei Fiori at Rome,

Italy 2000. Postmark Rome, 17.02.2000.









Giordano Bruno with manuscript and feather.


Italy 2000, Mi 2728, Sc 2375.








Postmark on the occasion of the fourth centenary of
his dead at the stake in Rome, 17th February 1600.

Portrait of Giordano Bruno with manuscript and feather.


Italy 2000. Postmark Rome 20.10.2000.





Cover to remind the Holy Year 1600.
The text remembers Giordano Bruno:
16oo is the year in which Giordano Bruno after a long
was executed (burned at the stake in the Campo
dei Fiori in Rome on 17 February 1600).


Vatican City 1974. KimCover Paulus VI, number 516.





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