“Mai bine faci cinstindu-ţi părintele aşa”, zise Saint-Savin, “cînd ţi-aduci aminte de învăţăturile lui, decît adineauri cînd ascultai latina aia stîlcită din biserică.”
“Domnule de Saint-Savin”, îi răspunsese Roberto, “nu-ţi este teamă că vei sfîrşi pe rug?”
Saint-Savin se mohorî cîteva clipe. “Cînd aveam şi eu mai mult sau mai puţin anii domniei tale, admiram pe cineva care a fost pentru mine ca un frate mai mare. Îl chema Lucilius, ca pe un filosof din antichitate, şi era şi el tot un filosof, şi preot pe deasupra. A sfîrşit pe rug la Toulouse, dar mai întîi i-au smuls limba şi l-au spînzurat. Vezi, deci, că dacă noi filosofii sîntem ascuţiţi la limbă, nu-i numai aşa, cum spunea domnul acela, atunci, seara, ca să fim de bon ton. E ca să tragem foloase din ea înainte să ne fie smulsă. Sau, başca temniţa, s-o rupem cu prejudecăţile şi să descoperim raţiunea firească a lucrurilor.”
“You honor your father better now,” Saint-Savin said, “by remembering his teachings, than you did before, listening to that execrable Latin in church.”
“Monsieur de Saint-Savin,” Roberto said to him, “are you not afraid of ending up at the stake?”
Saint-Savin frowned for a moment. “When I was more or less your age, I admired a man who had been an older brother to me. Like an ancient philosopher I called him Lucretius, for he, too, was a philosopher, and moreover a priest. He ended up at the stake in Toulouse, but first they tore out his tongue and strangled him. And so you see that if we philosophers are quick of tongue, it is not simply, as that gentleman said the other evening, to give ourselves ban ton. It is to put the tongue to good use before they rip it out. Or, rather, jesting aside, to dispel prejudice and to discover the natural cause of Creation.”
“State meglio onorando vostro padre ora,” disse Saint-Savin “ricordandone gli insegnamenti, che prima quando ascoltavate un cattivo latino in chiesa.”
“Signor di Saint-Savin,” gli aveva detto Roberto, “non temete di finire sul rogo?”
Saint-Savin si incupì per un istante. “Quando avevo più o meno la vostra età ammiravo quello che è stato per me come un fratello maggiore. Come un filosofo antico lo chiamavo Lucrezio, ed era filosofo anch’esso, e prete per giunta. È finito sul rogo a Tolosa, ma prima gli hanno strappato la lingua e l’hanno strangolato. E quindi vedete che se noi filosofi siamo svelti di lingua non è solo, come diceva quel signore l’altra sera, per darci bon ton. È per trarne partito prima che ce la strappino. Ovvero, celie a parte, per rompere coi pregiudizi e scoprire la ragione naturale delle cose.”
Incep sa ma ameteasca traducerile astea si tot nu-i dau de capat cine-i Saint Savin. Bergerac nu are cum sa fie, pentru ca Bergerac s-a nascut in 1619, anul morti lui Vanini. Saint Savin, zice ca Vanini ii era ca un frate mai mare si il admira cand avea varsta de vreo 16 ani. In versiunea Engleza si Italiana zice ca Saint Savin il numea pe acest prieten Lucretius, ca pe un filosof din antichitate. Traducerea romana zice cu totul altceva. Ii zice pe numele adevarat: Lucilius. Akuma nu cred ca Lucilius si Lucretiu sunt acelasi lucru dar ma pot insela. Oricum totce tine de traduceri e interesant. Cuvantul “Lucilius”, m-a ajutat mai mult sa-l dibuiesc pe acest prieten, ca nu prea ajungeam nicaieri, doar cu “Lucretiu”, “ars pe rug” si “Toulouse”. Din pacate nu am gasit multe informatii si biografiile pe care le-am gasit sunt uneori contradictorii si incomplete. Mai sunt mentiuni si in cateva carti de pe la 1700 -1800 …dar tot nu-mi place cum suna. Asta e. Trebuie sa ne mutumim cu ce avem. Prietenul lui Savin, e un personaj foarte interesant si se numeste Lucilio Vanini. Inainte sa bag biografiile, am sa mai zic doua lucruri. Ce sare in ochi la Vanini: e condamnat de ateism desi pare a fi panteist, propune ca oameni s-ar trage din maimute (asta e putin trasa de urechi, dar neavand textele originale, ramanem la ce mai citim pe ici pe colo) si se pare ca este impotrvia nemuriri sufletului, la fel ca “filosoful din antichitate” Lucretiu. La acesti filosofi tinzi sa gasesti lucruri interesante dar si multe aberatii specifice timpului. Asta se intampla cand vrei sa construiesti o teorie care sa explice “totul”, si uiti la ce nivel esti, in acel moment al istoriei. Se pare ca nici eu nu sunt la mare nivel, ca nu se intelege nimica din ce vreau sa spun :)
Vanini, Giulio Cesare
Born: Taurisano, Lecce (Southern Italy), c. 1585
Died: Toulouse, France, 9 February 1619
Dateinfo: Birth Uncertain
Occupation: Government Official
Vanini was the son of Giovanni Battista Vanini, a local official, and a Spanish noblewoman. His father was seventy years old when he was born.
Namer is unambiguous in saying that the parents were affluent. They had a fine house in Taurisano and other property as well. I will accept this. Nevertheless I do note that Vanini had to enter a religious order to be able to complete his university education. The situation is obscure. He entered the University of Naples in 1599; he took orders in 1603. Sometime near then his father died, and Vanini was not the eldest son. Perhaps this was involved in his entering the order.
Career: Italian, English, French
Schooling: Naples, LD; Padua
Vanini earned a doctorate in canon and civil law from the University of Naples on 6 June 1606. As with all such cases, I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
He enrolled in the faculty of theology in Padua in 1608, and was there until 1612. There is no record of a degree.
Affiliation: Catholic, Heterodox
Vanini became a Carmelite friar about 1603.
When studying in Padua, Vanini showed himself unambiguously in favor of Venice in the republic’s dispute with the Papacy. The general of his order commanded him to return to the house in Naples, where he would have been disciplined, probably severely. Instead Vanini sought refuge with the English ambassador to Venice in 1612, and he went secretly to England where he publicly renounced Catholicism. Already in 1613 the English experience had paled, and he appealed to the Pope to be received back in the Church, not as a friar, but as a secular priest. The request was granted by the Pope himself. When the Archbishop of Canterbury learned of Vanini’s plans, he had him imprisoned, but Vanini succeeded in escaping to France.
Well before this Vanini had been flirting with radical ideas, which found expression in two books published in France. He is known as the prince of libertins. He was accused of atheism. Whatever the truth of this, there seems no doubt that he held radically heterodox opinions. He advanced a naturalistic philosophy according to which the world is eternal and governed by immanent laws. For him all of nature with its immanent laws is what divine providence means. He held that the human soul, which is similar to animal souls is mortal. For these ideas Vanini’s book was condemned and three years later, in 1619, known under the pseudonym, Pompeo Uciglio, he was savagely executed in Toulouse.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Natural Philosophy
Vanini published two books in France after the English interlude–Amphitheatrum aeternae providentiae divino-magicum. Christiano-physicum, nec non astrologo-catholicum. Aversus veteres philosophos, 1615, and De admirandis naturae reginae deaeque mortalium arcanis, 1616. It was for these two, especially the second, that he was condemned and forced to flee Paris, and for opinions like those in the second that he was then executed in 1619.
On the basis of these works Vanini can be seen as one of the first who began to treat nature as a machine governed by laws.
7. Means of Support
Secondary: Church Life, Schoolmastering, Medicine
Vanini was originally a Carmelite friar. After completing his degree in Naples in 1606, he remained in the area of Naples for two years, apparently as a friar. He then went on to Padua in 1608, and there he lived in the monastery of his order.
In 1612, as he waited on the negotiations that granted him asylum in England, he lived in Bologna, supporting himself as a teacher.
The trip to England was financed by the patronage of the English ambassador, and in England he lived entirely (and increasingly unhappily) on the patronage of George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
After his escape from England he went to Genoa where he was the teacher of Giacomo Doria, of that prominent family.
In Paris, 1615-16, he lived on the patronage of Arthur d’Epinay de Saint Luc, abbé de Redon and Bishop of Marseille, and after he was forced to flee Paris he found refuge for several months at the monastery of Redon in Brittainy.
After he fled on from Redon, Vanini supported himself for a time by practising medicine under an assumed name.
In Toulouse he lived as the client of the highest aristocrats, especially the Comte de Caraman. Part of his function as client was teaching.
Types: Government Official, Eccesiastic Official, Aristrocrat
Vanini was a charismatic character, and wherever he went he collected patrons like flies around honey. This started in Padua where he charmed the English ambassador to Venice, Sir Dudley Carleton, right out of his shoes. Carleton arranged for Vanini’s escape to England in 1612 and financed the trip.
In England the Archbishop of Canterbury agreed to receive Vanini on Carleton’s recommendation. For a time Vanini exerted the same charm on Abbot, who arranged for his public conversion in June 1612, and supported him, though not in a way that pleased Vanini, during his stay in England.
When Vanini decided to get out of England, Antonio Foscarini, the Venetian ambassador, provided support. Someone helped to arrange his escape, and it was probably Foscarini.
After England he went briefly to Genoa where he became the teacher, and client, of Giacomo Doria.
Vanini dedicated his Amphitheatrum, 1615, to Francesco di Castro, Conte di Castro, the protector of his family back in Taurisano. In the dedication Vanini refers to him as his generous maecenas.
In Paris he became the client of the abbé de Redon, at whose house in stayed. When the storm broke in 1616, Vanini found refuge for a time in the monastery of Redon.
Meanwhile he had dedicated the book that caused the storm, De admirandis arcanis, 1616, to the abbé’s uncle, M. (soon to be maréchal) de Bassombpierre.
As I said, Vanini collected patrons as he went. Apparently libertin aristocrats lapped up his radical ideas, served up as they were with verve, irreverence, and charm. He no sooner arrived in Toulouse, travelling under an assumed name, than he became the client of Jean de Bertier de Montrabe, the third president (there were first and second presidents at the same time) of the Parlement of Toulouse. More important than Bertier was the Comte de Caraman, of whose nephew Vanini became tutor.
Namer’s book gives a good account of his patronage.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
- Emile Namer, La vie et l’oeuvre de J.C. Vanini, prince des libertins, (Paris, 1980).
- Andrzej Nowicki, Giulio Cesare Vanini, 1585-1619, (Accademia Polacco della Scienze, Bibliotheca e centro di studi a Roma. Conferenze 39), (Wroclaw, 1968).
Not Available and Not Consulted
- Emile Namer, Documents sur la vie de Jules-César Vanini de Taurisano (publ. dell’Istituto di Filosofia (1). Univ. degli studi di Bari), (Bari, n.d.). _____, “L’oeuvre de Jules-César Vanini (1585-1619): une anthropologie philosophique,” in Studi in onore di Antonio Corsano, (Manduria, 1970).
- _____, “Vanini et la préparation de l’esprit scientifique a l’aube du XVIIe siècle,” Revue d’histoire des sciences et de leur applications, 25 (1972), 207-20.
- Don Cameron Allen, Doubt’s Boundless Sea: Skepticism and Faith in the Renaissance, (Baltimore, 1964), pp. 58-74.
- J.-Roger Charbonnel, La pensée italienne au XVIe siècle et le courant libertin, (Paris, 1919), pp. 302-83.
- William L. Hine, “Mersenne and Vanini,” Renaissance Quarterly, c.
- Raffaele Palumbo, Giulio Cesare Vanini e i suoi tempi, (Naples, 1878). This list does not begin to exhaust the extensive literature on Vanini. After I had found Namer’s book, which is recent and authoritative, there seemed no point in reading further.
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Lucilio Vanini, born in 1585, was an Italian philosopher, learned in
medicine, astronomy, theology, and philosophy, who, after the fashion of
the scholars of the age, roamed from country to country, like the knight-
errants of the days of chivalry, seeking for glory and honours, not by the
sword, but by learning. This Vanini was a somewhat vain and ridiculous
person. Not content with his Christian name Lucilio, he assumed the
grandiloquent and high-sounding cognomen of Julius Caesar, wishing to
attach to himself some of the glory of the illustrious founder of the
Roman empire. As the proud Roman declared _Veni, Vidi, Vici_, so would he
carry on the same victorious career, subduing all rival philosophers by
the power of his eloquence and learning. He visited Naples, wandered
through France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and England, and
finally stationed himself in France, first at Lyons, and then in a convent
at Toulouse. At Lyons he produced his famous and fatal book,
_Amphitheatrum aeternae providentiae divino-magicum Christiano-Physicum,
nec non Astrologo-Catholicum_ (Lugduni, 1616). It was published with the
royal assent, but afterwards brought upon its author the charge of
Atheism. He concealed the poison most carefully; for apparently he
defended the belief in the Divine Providence and in the immortality of the
soul, but with consummate skill and subtilty he taught that which he
pretended to refute, and led his readers to see the force of the arguments
against the Faith of which he posed as a champion. By a weak and feeble
defence, by foolish arguments and ridiculous reasoning, he secretly
exposed the whole Christian religion to ridicule. But if any doubts were
left whether this was done designedly or unintentionally, they were
dispelled by his second work, _De admirandis naturae reginae deaeque
mortalium arcanis_ (Paris, 1616), which, published in the form of sixty
dialogues, contained many profane statements. In this work also he adopted
his previous plan of pretending to demolish the arguments against the
Faith, while he secretly sought to establish them. He says that he had
wandered through Europe fighting against the Atheists wherever he met with
them. He describes his disputations with them, carefully recording all
their arguments; he concludes each dialogue by saying that he reduced the
Atheists to silence, but with strange modesty he does not inform his
readers what reasonings he used, and practically leaves the carefully
drawn up atheistical arguments unanswered. The Inquisition did not approve
of this subtle method of teaching Atheism, and ordered him to be confined
in prison, and then to be burned alive. This sentence was carried out at
Toulouse in 1619, in spite of his protestations of innocence, and the
arguments which he brought forward before his judges to prove the
existence of God. Some have tried to free Vanini from the charge of
Atheism, but there is abundant evidence of his guilt apart from his books.
The tender mercies of the Inquisition were cruel, and could not allow so
notable a victim to escape their vengeance. Whether to burn a man is the
surest way to convert him, is a question open to argument. Vanini
disguised his insidious teaching carefully, but it required a thick veil
to deceive the eyes of Inquisitors, who were wonderfully clever in spying
out heresy, and sometimes thought they had discovered it even when it was
not there. Vanini and many other authors would have been wiser if they had
not committed their ideas to writing, and contented themselves with words
only. _Litera scripta manet_; and disguise it, twist it, explain it, as
you will, there it stands, a witness for your acquittal or your
condemnation. This thought stays the course of the most restless pen,
though the racks and fires of the Inquisition no longer threaten the
incautious scribe. BOOKS FATAL TO THEIR AUTHORS BY P. H. DITCHFIELD 1854-1930
“Jesus facing death sweated with fear, I die undaunted.”
Vanini, Giulio Cesare (1585 – 9 February 1619)
Vanini was educated in philosophy and theology at Rome University and took the priesthood after studying the canon law in Padua about 1603. He traveled widely throughout Europe, espousing his rationalist viewpoint and supporting himself by giving lessons. A freethinking priest alleged to be a believer in witchcraft and denying the current views on immortality, he said he knew that the world could not have been created out of nothing and said Jesus was not divine. As a result, Lucilio – who gave himself the name Julius Caesar – was driven from one country to another, preaching such views in France, England, Holland, and Germany. In Paris, he reportedly had fifty thousand followers at one point. When he took refuge in England, he spent 49 days in the Tower of London. In southern France, he published a book critical of atheism in 1615, in an attempt to clear himself from charges of heresy. But the following year his second book was published and is credited with being closer to his real views, in which he advanced a naturalistic philosophy, calling the human soul mortal. The book was ordered burned by the Sorbonne, and Vanini was charged with atheism. Four of his books made the Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
He was arrested in 1618 in Toulouse. After being found guilty, he was condemned, as an atheist, to have his tongue cut off, to be strangled at the stake, and to have his body burned to ashes. It is said he refused the ministration of a priest. An anti-Christian critic of scholasticism, he is credited with laying the foundation of modern philosophy. An attempt was made to force him to beg God, the king, and the judicial body for pardon, but he insisted he believed neither in God nor in the Devil. During the French Revolution, Maréchal cited Vanini as being one of the greatest atheists of all time. J. M. Robertson, however, wrote,
- He was in fact a deist with the inevitable leaning of the philosophic theist to pantheism; and whatever he may have said to arouse priestly hatred at Toulouse, he was rather less of an atheist than Spinoza or Bruno or John Scotus.
The Church brought him to trial, he was convicted at Toulouse by the voices of the majority. At the trial, he protested his belief in God and defended the existence of Deity with the flimsiest arguments, so flimsy, noted Foote, that one can easily suspect he was pouring irony on the judges. They found him guilty, ordered that his tongue be cut out, then that he burned alive. It is said that, afterwards, he confessed, took the communion, and declared himself ready to subscribe to the Church tenets.
However, the sentence was carried out on the same day, February 9, 1619. Drawn on a hurdle, in his shirt, with a placard on his shoulders inscribed “Atheist and Blasphemer of the name of God,” he cried out in Italian that he rejoiced to die like a philosopher. “Jesus facing death sweated with fear,” he said. “I die undaunted.” Or, as described by President Gramond, author of History of France Under Louis XIII,
- I saw him in the tumbril as they led him to execution, mocking the Cordelier who had been sent to exhort him to repentance, and insulting our Savior by these impious words, ‘He sweated with fear and weakness, and I die undaunted.’
Before burning him, his Christian benefactors did tear out his tongue by the roots, although he was said to have been so obstinate they had to use pincers. One Christian historian found humorous the victim’s long cry of agony. Vanini then was strangled, his body was burned in Toulouse, and the ashes of the thirty-four-year-old person described as the Antichrist, the disciple of Satan, were scattered to the wind.
In General Sketch of the History of Pantheism -1878 , sunt cateva lucruri interesante despre Vanini. Cateva citate:
“There is neither God nor devil: for if there was a God, I would pray Him to send a thunderbolt on the Council as all that is unjust and iniquitous; and if there were a devil I would pray him to engulf them in the subterranean regions; but since there is neither one nor the other, there is nothing for me to do.”
“The world”, says Vanini in another place “is perhaps an animal of which we are all members.”“
“His speculations concerning the origin of life are very interesting, and the arguments he advances for and against his own theories are somewhat curious through the undoubted resemblance they bear to the arguments one hears so frequently brought against the Evolution Theory in our own day.
‘According to Diodorus Siculus,’ says Vanini, ‘the first man was brought forth out of the slime of the earth.’ ‘But if so,’ observed Alexander, ‘how doth it happen that in five hundred thousand years, since which the world hath formed itself (according to that atheist), how is it, I say, that there hath not been one brought forth in that manner?’
‘Nevertheless,’ replied Vanini, ‘ he is not the only one who hath taken taht story for truth. Witness the opinion of Cardanus: he believes that as the smaller animals, mice and fishes, are produced by putrefaction, it is very probable that the greater animals, and even all in general, are derived from them also.’
‘A handsome method of reasoning,’ replied Alexander. ‘A mouse may be broıght forth out of putrefaction; therefore a man may also. Are there not still sufficient heaps of filth and slime? Why, then, is there not sometimes a horse, sometimes an ox produced from it?’
‘That’s right,’ replied Vanini; ‘but Diodorus Siculus relates that there is a certain part of the Nile, where it overflows, leaving behind it, as it were, a bed of mud, from which, when heated by the sun, there are produced animals of a monstrous size.’
‘That’s well,’ replied Alexander; ‘but as for me I never could believe such a lie.’
‘Others have dreamed,’ remarked Vanini, ‘that the first man had taken his origin from mud, putrefied by the corruption of certain monkeys, swine, and frogs; and thence, they say, proceeds the great resemblance there is betwixt our flesh and propensities with those of these creatures. Other atheist more mild have thought that none but the Ethiopians are produced from a race of monkeys, because the same degree of heat is found in both.’