412 years ago the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome for heresy.
He was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. His cosmological theories went beyond the Copernican model in proposing that the Sun was essentially a star, and moreover, that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds populated by other intelligent beings. He was burned at the stake by civil authorities in 1600 after the Roman Inquisition found him guilty of heresy for his pantheism and turned him over to the state, which at that time considered heresy illegal. After his death he gained considerable fame, particularly among 19th and early 20th century commentators who, focusing on his astronomical beliefs, regarded him as a martyr for free thought and modern scientific ideas… (more)