Graham Hancock ~In Memoriam Giordano Bruno

In Memoriam Giordano Bruno
By Graham Hancock

In memoriam of a great free thinker, Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake in Rome 414 years ago today, on 17 February 1600. Bruno was a proponent of the Copernican ‘heliocentric’ model of the solar system in which the earth and other planets orbit the sun (whereas it was wrongly believed by the Church and other authorities of the time that the sun and the planets orbit the earth). In his courageous advocacy of the heliocentric model, as in many other things, Bruno was correct and he was killed, quite simply, for speaking this truth aloud and refusing to be silenced by the voices of orthodoxy. His life, and his death, should serve as reminders to us that those who think outside the box, though no longer burnt at the stake, face great risks, persecution and vilification even today and often pay a heavy price for speaking their truth. Yet ultimately, in the longer picture of centuries and millennia we can see that it is precisely those outside-the-box thinkers who allow human society and human knowledge to advance for the benefit of us all.

For his out-of-the-box thinking and his courage in speaking his truth, Bruno suffered an eight-year ordeal at the hands of the Roman Inquisition. Tortured and tormented in the Vatican dungeons, he stood accused of heresy on several counts, including his claims that stars are other suns, such as our own (they are), that they are orbited by planets (they are), that these planets are likely to be populated by intelligent beings (21st century science is just beginning to catch up with this idea), that the earth itself is a planet (it is), and that the symbol of the cross was known to the ancient Egyptians (it was, in the form of the ankh, or crux ansata, symbolising the life-force).

Ordered to retract these and his other “heresies” or face death by burning, Bruno courageously stood firm. Fired by his convictions, he defiantly told his accusers that he had neither said nor written anything that was heretical, but only what was true. When his sentence was passed, Bruno bravely stared at the cardinals lined up in front of him and calmly told them: “Perchance your fear in passing judgement on me is greater than mine in receiving it.”

On the morning of 17 February 1600, Bruno, garbed with a white shirt, was taken to the Campo de Fiori, the Camp of the Flowers, a small piazza not far from the Roman Pantheon. There, he was securely tied to a wooden pole around which were stacked planks of wood and bundles of sticks. “I die a willing martyr”, he is said to have declared as the fire was being lit all around him, “and my soul will rise with the smoke to paradise.” A young protestant, Gaspar Schopp of Breslau, who had recently converted to Catholicism and thus enjoyed the favours of the Pope, was an eyewitness to the burning, and reported that “when the image of our Saviour was shown to him before his death he [Bruno] angrily rejected it with averted face”. The truth is that a Dominican monk had tried to brandish a crucifix in Bruno’s face while he suffered in the flames. Poor Bruno, his legs now charred to the bone, mustered enough strength to turn his head away in disgust.

A few days earlier Bruno had written his own epitaph:

“I have fought…It is much… Victory lies in the hands of Fate. Be that with me as it may, whoever shall prove conqueror, future ages will not deny that I did not fear to die, was second to none in constancy, and preferred a spirited death to a craven life.”

Giordano Bruno

Photo by Santha Faiia. This statue of Bruno, created in his honour in the 19th century, stands on the exact spot of his death in the Campo de Fiori, south of Piazza Navona in Rome

[Laura Bruno here — no relation to Giordano, btw … This Graham Hancock Facebook post came to me via Dean Scarpinato, who also included the following video and song:

This little video of mine was greatly inspired by Bruno. Please watch. If you’ve seen it b4 please watch again. It is heartfelt.]

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by hocuspocus13 on February 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13.


  2. Awesome. Thank you Laura. Dean. Please check out my video 🙂


  3. Please let it be known that while I certainly could have written this short heartfelt legacy I DID NOT. I simply forwarded an email from a FB post by the illustrious Mr. Graham Hancock. As nice as it is to see my name in print this is not my work. Well the video is. And I am pretty certain Mr Hancock would not object now that we have properly cited the source.

    AND TO ANYONE UNAWARE OF THE WORK OF GRAHMM HANCOCK an alternative historian of ancient civilizations and an Ayahuasca Initiate do yourself a favor and google him. Check out his Joe Rogan interviews. You’ll find him fascinating.

    Also past life regressions have linked me with the spirit and soul group of Mr Bruno so karmically this may be an act of synchronicity.


  4. Thanks, Dean, for clarifying. I corrected. I probably should have checked with you first, but I know you’ve been fine with me reposting your material in the past so didn’t think of it. My ex, from whom I acquired the last name of Bruno, had some of Giordano Bruno’s work on our bookshelves and actually looked eerily similar, with very similar ideas. I’ve long admired GB … so thanks for the post, and hopefully Mr. Graham Hancock — whom, I agree, also has given fabulous contributions to humanity! — will not mind the repost since it’s now up and out there with proper credit given.


  5. Your video’s still posted at the end of the article. Very nice work!


  6. Thanks Laura. Left a longer response and then went thru login hell. LOL. Hope this gets thru. Its all good. Peace Be Upon GB.


  7. And I think Mr. Hancock will be fine with it all. I messaged him with the content and my comments and all. Doubt I’ll hear back :-). He put it out there that the truth might be known. I’m sure he’ll be fine with how it all went down. Thanks Laura.


  8. I too share this as well….had a dream about a past life being burned at the stake…


  9. Posted by Mitch Mattraw on February 18, 2014 at 5:30 am

    In my only visit to Rome, I stayed at a small hotel in Campo di Fiore, on the advice of my sis who lives in Italy, I was taken by this statue, Mr Bruno’s life and have video footage of it, it’s one of the most unique in all of Rome, the fact that it’s even there, mere blocks from the vatican is awesome. It’s interesting to note that the Campo has long been the center for activism, free speech in Rome, undoubtedly because of Mr Bruno’s legacy.


  10. Posted by Kieron on February 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    That statue is one of the most compelling figures I’ve seen. What an inspiring story, too.

    As for being no relation to Giordano, well, you certainly share his spirit, Laura! 🙂


  11. Yes, I do share his spirit, and I am no stranger to the burning stake, either — so much so that I had to train myself to notice burns when they were occurring in this lifetime. Apparently, I had turned off my sensitivity to flame searing flesh, as I used to get bad burns due to not noticing my leg was touching a grill or my hand was on a boiling water heater. I’d have these weird, “spontaneous” burn welts on me and be like “Where the heck did THIS come from?!” Only when I worked through the various stake burnings and reminded my body that it was wise to feel burning as it occurred — for safety’s sake — did I begin to notice when my flesh started to burn. Amazing what the mind can overcome when psychopaths are determined to fire you alive…

    Mitch, thanks for sharing your story, too. Perhaps we’ll see the footage some day!


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