New light on the Galileo affair

Autor: Mariano Artigas (University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain), Rafael Martínez (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, Italy) and William R. Shea (University of Padua, Italy)
Publicado en: Europen Science Foundation Network: "Science and Human Values" Istanbul Workshop.
Fecha de publicación 6 and 7 October 2001

Paper given by Mariano Artigas at the European Science Foundation Network: "Science and Human Values" Istanbul Workshop. 6 and 7 October 2001.
Author: Mariano Artigas, Rafael Martínez and William R. Shea.

Published in: Mariano Artigas, Rafael Martínez and William Shea, "New Light in the Galileo Affair", in: Religious Values and the Rise of Science in Europe, John Brooke and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, eds., (Istanbul: Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, 2005), pp. 145-166. 
New version published as: Mariano Artigas, Rafael Martínez and William R. Shea, "New light on the Galileo affair?", in: The Church and Galileo, Ernan McMullin, ed. (Notre Dame, In.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), pp. 213-233.


Spanish version published as: Mariano Artigas, Rafael Martínez y William R. Shea, "Nueva luz en el caso Galileo", Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia (Facultad de Teología, Universidad de Navarra), 12 (2003), pp. 159-179.


In 1999, a new document related to the Galileo affair was discovered by Mariano Artigas in the archives of the Holy Office. Artigas communicated his discovery to William R. Shea. Afterwards, them asked Rafael Martínez to join the team. Martínez transcribed the document and conducted extensive research in the Italian archives. This allowed the researchers to identify the author of the document. This result led to establish a link between the document and the work of the Special Commission designated by Pope Urban VIII in August 1632. The Commission was created in order to decide whether Galileo ought to appear before the Holy Office in Rome. In this article, the new document (named EE 291 by Artigas) is described, its authorship is discussed, and its implications for our knowledge of the Galileo affair are examined.

Keywords: the Galileo affair, Holy Office, Urban VIII, Robert Bellarmine, Melchior Inchofer, Pietro Redondi, EE 291, geocentrism.


Redondi's reinterpretation of the trial of Galileo

Galileo's copernican campaign

The dispute with Orazio Grassi

The assayer denounced

The document EE 291

The author of EE 291

The date of EE 291

The date and authorship of G3

G3, EE 291 and the Galileo affair

The meaning of EE 291


Appendix I: the original latin document EE 291

Appendix II: english translation of EE 291


A new document concerning Galileo's trial was discovered by Mariano Artigas in December 1999 in the Archives of the Holy Office, that are housed in the palace of the Holy Office next to Saint Peter's Square in Rome. Rafael Martinez transcribed the document and carried out the extensive research in Italian archives that led to the identification of the author. This, in its turn, has led to relate the document with the work of the Special Commission appointed by Pope Urban VIII in August 1632 to help him decide whether Galileo should be summoned before the Holy Office in Rome.

The Congregation of the Roman Inquisition, generally known as of the Holy Office, was instituted by Pope Paul III in 1542 in order to defend the Roman Catholic Church from heresy, which at the time meant the Protestant Reformation. When the Congregation was transformed by Pope Paul VI in 1965 it was renamed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Holy Office worked closely with the Congregation of the Index of Forbidden Books that was created in 1571, and published an Index or list of forbidden books from 1559 until 1917 when it was merged with the Holy Office. Both Congregations played a central role in the Galileo affair. Our story deals with years 1610-1633, at a time when Rome was engaged in the so-called Counter-Reformation, and stressed those aspects of the Catholic doctrine that helped to counteract the effects of Protestantism. Two are particularly relevant to the Galileo affair. The first is an emphasis on reading the Scriptures in accord with Tradition represented mainly by the Holy Fathers and the Doctors of the Church. The second is the affirmation of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, which was explained with the concept of ‘transubstantiation'. The second aspect has a direct bearing on the new document.

In this paper we describe the new document (named by Artigas EE 291 for the reasons given below), discuss its authorship, and draw some consequences for our knowledge of the Galileo affair1.  The Latin original and an English translation of the document are given in appendix I and II. We must begin by examining G3, another document discovered in 1982, because the new document is a continuation of G3.

 Redondi's reinterpretation of the trial of Galileo 

The volumes that contain the Records (Protocolli) of the Congregation of the Index are numbered with capital letters A, B, C... AA (or A 2), BB (or B 2 ), and so on. The new document that was discovered by Artigas was bound in volume EE (or E 2 ), the same one in which Pietro Redondi in 1982 found another, until then unknown, three-page document, which is usually identified by the code ‘G3' that appears at the top of the first page (nobody knows what does ‘G3' stands for).

G3 is a denunciation of the atomism that Galileo defended in his book Il Saggiatore (The Assayer) of 16232, a work in which he argues that sensible qualities do not have an objective status but merely result from the way atoms impinge on our sense organs. Colours, tastes, smells, or tactile properties exist, as such, in the persons who experience them, not in the objects themselves. The anonymous author of G3 believed that this interpretation of sensible properties was at variance with the doctrine of the Eucharist that is characterised by transubstantiation, the word that was used to indicate that after the consecration at the Mass there is no longer the substance of bread and wine, but the body and blood of Jesus Christ. What remains of the bread and wine are only the so-calledaccidental properties (colour, odour, general appearance) that are miraculously sustained by divine power. No miracle would be needed if those properties were pure names.

Based on G3, Redondi proposed a reinterpretation of the Galileo affair in which Pope Urban VIII, a former friend and admirer of Galileo, manipulated the proceedings in such a way that Galileo ‘only' had to face the accusation of Copernicanism, and not the more serious accusation contained in G33. Few people followed this interpretation, but the new document calls for a re-examination of G3.

 Galileo's copernican campaign 

Galileo created a sensation when he used the newly invented telescope to look at the heavens in the autumn of 1609. He published his spectacular observations in 1610, and in 1611 he went to Rome where he was given a hero's welcome by the Jesuits of the Roman College. The discoveries for which he was hailed include the rocky surface of the Moon, the existence of new stars, the nature of the Milky Way, the satellites of Jupiter, and the phases of Venus.

Galileo was a Copernican by that time but he presented his views in a cautious and courteous way. His discoveries threatened the traditional view that the Earth is at rest at the centre of the universe, but they did not constitute a definitive proof of the Copernican system. Some Aristotelian professors first, and afterwards a couple of friars, felt that Galileo's heliocentrism was at variance with a literal reading of the Scriptures and they denounced him to the Holy Office in Rome. In 1615 Galileo decided take a stronger stand and he went to Rome to argue the case for the motion of the Earth. The outcome was not a happy one. Copernicus' De Revolutionibus was banned by the Congregation of the Index on 5 March 1616, and Galileo was told in private, but nonetheless officially, that he was not to teach Copernicanism in any way. He complied, albeit reluctantly.

In 1623 Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, a Florentine who had praised Galileo's achievements, was elected Pope under the name of Urban VIII. Galileo had recently helped his nephew, Francesco Barberini, obtain his doctorate at the University of Pisa, and the Cardinal had written to express his appreciation. The postscript to his letter, which is in his own hand, leaves no doubt about his feelings. ‘I am much in your debt,' he writes, ‘for your abiding goodwill towards myself and the members of my family, and I look forward to the opportunity of reciprocating. I assure you that you will find me more than willing to be of service in consideration of your great merit and the gratitude that I owe you'4. Events moved rapidly, and less than two months after writing this letter, Maffeo Barberini had become Urban VIII, and was about to appoint his nephew, then only twenty-seven years old, to the College of Cardinals. Francesco became the Pope's right hand.

Two close friends of Galileo, Giovanni Ciampoli and Virginio Cesarini, were also named to important posts. Cesarini was appointed Lord Chamberlain, and Ciampoli Secret Chamberlain and Secretary for the Correspondence with Princes. Under these favourable auspices Galileo thought the moment had come to renew his campaign for Copernicanism, and in 1624 he set off for Rome where he had the rare privilege of being received by the Pope six times in six weeks. Although the 1616 decree of the Index against Copernicus' De Revolutionibus was not suspended, Galileo felt that he could now argue for the motion of the Earth as long as he avoided declaring that it was the only system that fitted astronomical observations.

Here lurked the danger of serious misunderstanding. Maffeo Barberini, while he was a Cardinal, had counselled Galileo to treat Copernicanism as a hypothesis, not as a confirmed truth. But ‘hypothesis' meant two very different things. On the one hand, astronomers were assumed to deal only with hypotheses, i.e. accounts of the observed motions of the stars and planets that were not claimed to be true. Astronomical theories were mere instruments for calculation and prediction, a view that is often called ‘instrumentalism'. On the other hand, a hypothesis could also be understood as a theory that was not yet proved but was open to eventual confirmation. This was a ‘realist' position. Galileo thought that Copernicanism was true, and presented it as a hypothesis, i.e. as a provisional idea that was potentially physically true, and he discussed the pros and cons, leaving the issue undecided. This did not correspond to the instrumentalist view of Copernicanism that was held by Maffeo Barberini and others. They thought that Copernicus' system was a purely instrumental device, and Maffeo Barberini was convinced that it could never be proved. This ambiguity pervaded the whole Galileo Affair.

 The dispute with Orazio Grassi 

Unfortunately, Galileo had embarked around that time on a drawn-out dispute with the Jesuit Father Orazio Grassi, something that did not help his relationship with the Jesuits. He took Grassi to task in his book The Assayer,a witty and devastating work that was wildly acclaimed, not so much by scientists as by writers and men of letters.

The Assayer was a part of a long dispute between Galileo and Grassi. Three comets had appeared in 1618, and Grassi had discussed them in a lecture at the Roman College in Rome5. Galileo replied in a Discourse on the Comets6 that was delivered by Mario Guiducci, his disciple and close friend. Galileo probably embarked on this dispute because he felt that Grassi's ideas might be used to support Tycho Brahe's geocentrism against Copernicus' heliocentrism. Grassi replied with his Balance7, published under the pen name of Lothario Sarsi. Writing under a pseudonym was not unusual among Jesuits when they discussed non-theological subjects, as they did not wish to involve their religious Order. Galileo's friends urged him to retort, which he did in his The Assayer in 1623. It is in this work that we find the celebrated passage in which Galileo pokes fun at the Jesuit for thinking

that philosophy is a book of fiction created by one man, like the Iliad or the Orlando Furioso, books in which the last thing is whether what is written is true. Sig. Sarsi [Grassi's nom de plume] this is not the way matters stand. Philosophy is written in that great book that ever lies before our eyes - I mean the universe - but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word, and without which one wanders in vain in a dark labyrinth8.

Urban VIII, who liked to have someone read to him at mealtimes, listened to a number of choice passages as soon as The Assayer was published in October 1623, and the one we have just quoted was probably included. In any event, the Pope was so pleased that he took the book home to read it at leisure.

 The assayer denounced 

Not everyone in Rome was as enthusiastic as the Pope, and Galileo suspected that his enemies (a broad category) were plotting against him. When he returned to Florence in June 1624, he heard rumours that his theory of sensible qualities was being criticised, and he asked Mario Guiducci who was in Rome to investigate. On 21 June 1624, Guiducci reported as follows:

I hear from all sides rumours of the war with which Grassi is threatening us to the point that I am tempted to believe that he has his reply ready. On the other hand, I cannot see where he can attack us since Count Virginio Malvezzi is virtually certain that he cannot gain a foothold against your position about the nature of heat, taste, smell, and so on. The Count says that you must have written about that in order to give rise to a debate for which you must be armed to the teeth9.

Over the next months, Guiducci kept his ears open but the rumour died out. On 18 April 1625, however, he had a new bit of gossip to pass on. It was provided by Federico Cesi, the founder of the Lyncean Academy, and concerned ‘a pious person' who had asked the Holy Office to ban The Assayer because it argued for the motion of the Earth. The Pope's nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, had agreed to look into the matter and had entrusted Father Giovanni Guevara with the task of examining the work. Guevara saw no reason to condemn the ‘doctrine concerning motion' that was found in the book, and the Holy Office let the matter drop. But Galileo did not argue for the motion of the Earth in The Assayer, and this incident puzzled historians until Pietro Redondi discovered G3, which sheds light on the problem. The ‘doctrine concerning motion' in G3 does not refer to the motion of the Earth but to atoms, precisely what is at issue inThe Assayer. The information that Guiducci had passed on to Galileo was not only second-hand, it was distorted. He, or his informant, had misunderstood ‘motion' as referring to the Earth when it was about atoms. Galileo does not discuss how planets move in The Assayer, but how atoms cause heat, and it is in this context that he explains away the reality of sensible qualities:

As soon as I think of a material object or a corporeal substance, I immediately feel the need to conceive that it is bounded and has this or that shape, that it is big or small in relation to others, that it is in this or that place at a given time, that it moves or stays still, that it touches or does not touch another body, and that it is one, few, or many. I cannot separate it from these conditions by any stretch of my imagination. But my mind feels no compulsion to understand as necessary accompaniments that it should be white or red, bitter or sweet, noisy or silent, of sweet or of foul odour. Indeed, without the senses to guide us, reason or imagination alone would perhaps never arrive at such qualities. I think that tastes, odours, colours and the like are no more than mere names so far as pertains to the subject wherein they seem to reside, and that they only exist in the body that perceives them. Thus, if all living creatures were removed, all these qualities would also be removed and annihilated10.

Some people, such as the author of G3, may in good faith have considered this passage as incompatible with the permanence of real accidents in the Eucharist, but the Holy Office saw no grounds to proceed against Galileo. The Church had for centuries used the concept of ‘transubstantiation' when formulating the doctrine of the Eucharist, but without giving the word a technical meaning. The Church declared that the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ while the appearances of wine and bread remain. It is noteworthy that in the definitions of the Council of Trent, the word ‘accident' is not used. Instead, the Council speaks of ‘species', i.e. appearances, and usually of ‘the species or bread' or ‘the species of wine' in the singular. Although the concept of substance was borrowed from Aristotelian philosophy, the Council did not intend to enter into a philosophical discussion, and this was explicitly noted. The appearance of bread and wine after the consecration are the same whatever scientific or philosophical explanation is offered for the reality of sensible qualities. Cardinal Francesco Barberini's adviser, Father Guevara, was quite correct in saying that Galileo's theory about the motion of atoms did not contradict the doctrine of the Church. If the accusation had concerned the motion of the Earth, Guevara would surely have pointed out that this matter was not raised in The Assayer. The denunciation contained in G3 lay dormant in the archives for several centuries, until Redondi discovered it and used it to reinterpret the Galileo Affair. We shall return to it after examining the new document discovered by Mariano Artigas.

 The document EE 291 

On 9 December 1999, Artigas happened to be working in the Archives of the Index, searching for documents related to the Church's stance on the theory of evolution. As he was also preparing a book on Galileo with William Shea, it occurred to him that it might be useful to look up G3. He asked for volume EE in which Redondi's document occupies sheets 292 (recto and verso), and 293 (recto). When he was given the volume he remembered that Redondi had commented that he was not allowed to look at more than that document. The Archives had not yet been opened to the public and access was restricted. Seventeen years later, however, the Archives had become fully accessible to scholars and Artigas was allowed to examine the volume at leisure.

The document just before G3 turned out to be another anonymous and undated document that dealt with the same subject. It filled sheet 291 recto and half of sheet 291 verso. This is why Artigas called it EE 29111. Whereas Redondi's G3 is in Italian, EE 291 is in Latin. Galileo is not mentioned by name, but the text begins with the words, ‘I saw the discourse of the Lyncean', an unmistakable reference to Galileo, who had been admitted to the Lyncean Academy in 1611 and was fond of puttingLynceo on the frontispiece of his books, as he did in the case of The Assayer, the work that is considered in G3. The fact that EE 291 comes just before G3 confirms that the discussion of the presumed incompatibility of Galileo's interpretation of sensible qualities with the doctrine of the Eucharist is related to what he had written in The Assayer. Artigas immediately realised that he had found an unknown and unpublished document, and suspected that it might be relevant to the Galileo Affair.

EE 291 is written with less care than G3, and it has a number of hand-written corrections. This would seem to indicate that the author of EE 291 was familiar with the Congregation of the Index and had been asked to write an internal report on whether to proceed with the accusation made in G3. EE 291 consists of an introductory paragraph, eight numbered sections, and a conclusion. The author is critical of Galileo's views on atomism, and concludes that the Holy Office could proceed with a formal inquiry.

Artigas communicated his discovery to Shea, and both found it difficult to interpret EE 291 without first determining the author and the date of composition. This is when they turned to Rafael Martínez and asked him to join the team.

 The author of EE 291 

Rafael Martinez undertook a systematic study of the volume in which EE 291 appears, and he came across two documents in the same handwriting signed by Melchior Inchofer, a Jesuit. The son of an official of the Imperial Army, Inchofer was born in Köszeg in Hungary around 1585, and died in Milan on 28 September 1648. He came to Rome to study at the German Hungarian College in 1605, and he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice on 26 March 1607. He spent the rest of his life mainly in Italy except for a brief period in Graz in Austria12.

Inchofer was probably a member of the Preliminary Commission appointed by Urban VIII to examine Galileo's Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems in the summer of 163213. The next year he was asked, along with A. Oregio and Z. Pasqualigo, to assess the work for the Holy Office, and determine whether Galileo had disobeyed the injunction not to write on Copernicanism that he had received in 1616. They concurred that Galileo had contravened the order, but Inchofer was particularly damning in his report and, in the very same year, he published in Rome a book entitled Tractatus Syllepticus against the motion of the Earth14.

Two other documents in Inchofer's handwriting that were identified by Martinez in the Casanatense, another Roman library, strengthen our claim that Inchofer is the author of EE 291. The slight differences in the handwriting of the two other documents by Inchofer in volume EE can be explained by special circumstances. For instance, in one case, he states that he is compelled to stop writing because his hand is unsteady.

Artigas, Martinez and Shea drafted an article in 2000 but they had not published it when they heard in January 2001, that two other scholars acting independently had also seen the document. The Italian historian, Ugo Baldini, who had been asked by the Vatican authorities to head a systematic research of papers on science and religion in the archives of the Holy Office until the 19 th century, came across many documents with his colleagues, including EE 291 that would seem to be the only genuinely important document related to Galileo to have been uncovered to date. A few other documents connected with Galileo have been found, but they refer to minor points. Baldini and his team have published these texts with some explanatory notes15. A second scholar, Thomas Cerbu, of the University of Georgia, also found EE 291, and he has published a paper on Inchofer, in which EE 291 is reproduced with some comments16. The fact that EE 291 has been found independently three times in a short period of time proves that free access to the Vatican Archives has already produced excellent results.

We agree with Cerbu on the authorship of EE 291 and we can take as established that EE 291 was written by Inchofer. This, in its turn, permits us to establish, also in agreement with Cerbu, when EE 291 was written.

 The date of EE 291 

Inchofer's personal circumstances provide a reliable clue to establish when EE 291 was written. In 1617 he was sent to Messina to teach mathematics, philosophy and theology. He was a prolific writer, very interested in historical controversies. In 1629 he published a work supporting the authenticity of a letter presumably written by the Virgin Mary to the people of Messina, which had been declared apocryphal by the Holy Office. This caused some difficulties with the Congregation of the Index, and Inchofer went to Rome to defend himself. He did this so well that he was not only allowed to print a revised publication of book but was even able to remain in Rome. He became a confidant of the Dominican Niccolò Riccardi, the Master of the Apostolic Palace, one of the main offices in the Vatican Curia. Riccardi could authorise the publications of books, and he had close ties to the Holy Office, and the Congregation of the Index.

Inchofer's collaboration with Riccardi could not have begun before he had been cleared of the charges against him. A positive report on his behalf was presented by Riccardi on April 23, 1630, and this was approved by the Holy Office. In December 1630 Riccardi notified the Holy Office that the corrections to Inchofer's book had been made, and the Cardinals approved the publication of the revised edition. Shortly thereafter, Inchofer began to be consulted by the Congregation of the Index, except for the period when he returned to Sicily between 1634 and 1636. In 1640, he was officially appointed a Consultant, a title he retained to his death.

From these circumstances we can infer that the end of 1630 or the beginning of 1631 are the absolute lower limits for the initial collaboration of Inchofer with Riccardi and the Congregation of the Index. It is likely that he was not consulted immediately after having been cleared, but sometime in 1631 or early in 1632. EE 291 could not have been written later than 1642, the year of Galileo's death, because the criticism of the ‘Lyncean' is directed against a living person. The suggestion that the matter be examined more closely at the end of the document would make no sense if Galileo were already dead. Since there is no reference to Galileo's condemnation on 22 June 1633 (which the author would have mentioned had the document been written after the trial), we can surmise that EE 291 was written before that date. Moreover, Inchofer's conclusion that the denunciation provided a basis to examine the matter at the Holy Office would make no sense if it had submitted it after it was decided, on 23 September 1632, to summon Galileo to the Holy Office.

We can conclude, therefore, that the document was written sometime in 1631 or 1632 but not later than 23 September 1632. This is consistent with the evidence provided by the similarity between the handwriting of EE 291 and the one that is found in the documents that we know to be in Inchofer's own hand and that are prior to 163417. It is also consistent with Inchofer being a member of a Preliminary Commission appointed in the Summer of 1632 to consider whether Galileo should be called before the Holy Office. But, before developing this line of argument, we must raise a few questions concerning G3.

 The date and authorship of G3 

In order to ascertain why Inchofer wrote EE 291, we first ask about the date of G3. Redondi conjectured that it was written after the publication of The Assayer in 1623, and before Father Grassi answered it in his Ratio Ponderum of 1626. It is around this time that Galileo heard the ugly rumour that his theory of ‘motion' had been denounced. We cannot exclude that G3 was written some years after the publication of The Assayer. There have been cases of such delayed attacks in more recent times. For example, at the end of the 19th century, a book on evolution by Father Leroy was denounced to the Index several years after it was published. There was no rule for the arrival of denunciations at the Congregation of the Index or the Holy Office. Nevertheless, it seems more reasonable to assume that G3 was produced in 1624, shortly after The Assayer appeared. This date agrees with what we know about the circumstances, above all the uneasiness manifested by Galileo when he returned to Florence in June 1624, and the denunciation mentioned by Mario Guiducci in his letter to Galileo of 18 April 162518. The only detail that does not fit so well is Guiducci's reference to the motion of the Earth as the cause of the denunciation, but as we have seen, this was surely a mistake, because there is no mention of the motion of the Earth inThe Assayer. That the person who informed Cesi had difficulties in grasping that the real issue was the motion of atoms is quite understandable, and Cesi himself, or Guiducci for that matter, could have missed the point. The second time Guiducci refers to the denunciation in his letter he only speaks of ‘motion', not ‘the motion of the Earth.' Once this matter is clarified, the denunciation reported by Cesi and transmitted by Guiducci fits perfectly well with Galileo's worries: a theory concerning sensible qualities is a subject he had treated in The Assayer.

Our conclusion is that G3 was written and sent to the Congregation of the Index or the Holy Offdice in 1624. As Guiducci says in his letter the Cardinal, who declared that he would examine the matter, asked Father Guevara to read the book and report on it. Now Father Guevara shortly thereafter went off to France with the Cardinal Legate, who was no other than Cardinal Francesco Barberini. Everything jells if we assume that the Cardinal who took matters in hand was Francesco Barberini, the nephew of the Pope and the friend of Galileo. He had a genuine interest in the issue. When Father Guevara reported that Galileo's views on qualities did not oppose the doctrine of the Church, G3 was archived and lay dormant until it was discovered by Inchofer.

But who wrote G3? It is difficult to identify the author because the neat copy of G3 in the Archives is almost certainly the work of a copyist. Redondi initially conjectured that the author was none other than Father Orazio Grassi, but this has now been shown to be most unlikely by Sergio Pagano19. Several persons in Rome disliked Galileo, on personal or doctrinal grounds, but none of those we have studied qualify as the author of G3. One possibility is Francesco Ingoli (1578-1649) with whom Galileo had clashed in Rome in 1616. Ingoli was largely responsible for carrying the revisions to Copernicus' De Revolutionibus that the Index had requested, and he had his share in the prohibition of Kepler's Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae. Several of his manuscript notes are in the Archives of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples (formerly the Propaganda Fide) of which he was the first secretary, and Rafael Martinez was able to determine that he did not write G3. Martinez also examined the work of several copyists who worked at thePropaganda Fidei at the time but their handwriting does not match that of G3.

Sergio Pagano has drawn attention to what might be another clue: the watermark of G3. It is an ecclesiastical coat of arms, probably that of Cardinal Tiberio Muti, the bishop of Viterbo between 1611 and 163620. Martinez found several variants of this watermark in documents in the diocesan archive of Viterbo. The Mutis were a noble Roman family and Galileo was acquainted with Cardinal Tiberio Muti, his brother Giacomo, and his nephew Carlo. When Galileo came to Rome in 1611, he carried a letter of recommendation for Tiberio Muti from Antonio de' Medici21. He saw Tiberio again in 161622, but he was closer to Carlo Muti, who became a member of the Lyncean Academy, and with whom he corresponded until Carlo's death in 162123. Cardinal Tiberio Muti was a member of the Congregation of the Index whose meetings he attended at least until 163324.

It is most unlikely that Cardinal Muti was involved in drafting G3, not only because his handwriting is different but on account of the tone of the document. It is just not what we would expect from a Cardinal who belonged to the Congregation of the Index. Several persons in the entourage of the Cardinal could have had access to paper with his watermark, but thus far we are in the dark about who he was25.

 G3, EE 291 and the Galileo affair 

The evidence we have examined strongly suggests that G3 was written in 1624. It was archived, and then discovered in 1632, in relation to the early stage of Galileo's trial. The author of G3 mentions that he experienced ‘doctrinal scruples' after reading The Assayer, a statement that would have been welcome by those who wanted to see Galileo put down a peg or two after the publication of hisDialogue on the Two Chief World Systems. Galileo's trial was preceded by several months of inquiry, and in August 1632, Rome tried to halt the sale of the Dialogue and at that time the Pope appointed a Commission of Inquiry that probably numbered Inchofer among its members.

We know that the Commission met in August and September 1632, but we do not know its mandate, how it went about its task, or what reports were produced. One thing is clear: the Commission recommended that Galileo be called before the Holy Office. We also have another item of important information: a very damaging injunction made to Galileo in 1616 was discovered in the archives of the Holy Office. On 11 September 1632 the Tuscan ambassador in Rome, Francesco Niccolini, wrote to Andrea Cioli, the Tuscan Secretary of State that Father Riccardi, the Master of the Apostolic Palace, mentioned his Jesuit confidant (surely Inchofer) was a member of the Commission. Riccardi also added that the famous injunction of 1616 had been found in the Holy Office. On 26 February 1616 Cardinal Bellarmine, acting on orders of the Pope, had intimated to Galileo to abandon Copernicanism. This had been recorded in the archives, and now it came to light.

Once he had been made aware of the content of theDialogue in 1632, Pope Urban VIII took the whole affair in hand. The Archives were searched for anything concerning Galileo's antecedents in all likelihood on the Pope's instructions for Urban VIII remembered that the Holy Office had dealt with Galileo in 1616. As a Cardinal member of the Index, but not of the Holy Office, Urban VIII did not have direct access in 1616 to the proceedings of the Holy Office which were kept secret. This is why, in an interview with Galileo's friend, Piero Dini, in April 1615 he had declared that nothing was brewing against Galileo in Rome although a friar by the name of Lorini had already denounced him to the Roman authorities, and another friar, Tommaso Caccini, had made a statement against him before the Holy Office26. More specifically, Urban VIII did not know about the injunction ordered by Pope Paul V and transmitted to Galileo by Cardinal Bellarmine on February 26, 1616. Now two documents (not just one) in the Holy Office recorded this event. The authenticity of the first document that contains a very explicit description of the injunction has been queried, but the second document is not controversial and is found in the proceedings of the Holy Office, where every meeting with the subject matter and the decisions were recorded. This document clearly says that Bellarmine, acting on the orders of the Holy Office, formally warned Galileo that he should abandon the Copernican opinion, and that Galileo accepted27.

When the documents of the Holy Office came to light, Urban VIII discovered to his surprise that his much admired friend Galileo had told him nothing about the injunction. But this is what one should expect in normal circumstances. In 1616 the Holy Office was anxious to protect Galileo's reputation, and there was no reason why Galileo should have told anybody about the precept. Galileo had even obtained a certificate from Cardinal Bellarmine, who was a man who respected confidentiality. But secrecy was so strict at the Vatican that Bellarmine could not refer in his own writings to the procedures of the Holy Office, or explain in detail the orders received from the Pope. Nonetheless, Galileo should have mentioned that he had received such an injunction when he brought the manuscript of his Dialogue to Rome in 1630 in order to have it approved for publication. The discovery of the injunction turned against him, and it became the focus of the trial. Galileo's only defence was to claim that he did not argue for Copernicanism in the Dialogue. The three experts who read the work soon realised that he argued as persuasively as he could for the motion of the Earth, and they told the Pope.

G3 was probably discovered when the archives were searched for information about Galileo. The accusation contained in G3 was not about Copernicanism, and a report about its relevance was necessary. Inchofer was the right person to prepare such a report; he knew some science and he was a member of the Preliminary Commission. He thought that the accusation contained in G3 was justified and that the matter deserved to be more fully investigated by the Holy Office.

The violation of the 1616 injunction regarding Copernicanism was sufficient to call Galileo before the Holy Office. It was directly related to the Dialogue, and provided juridical grounds for a trial. EE 291 and G3 were not needed. One can imagine that both documents were carefully saved, with an eye on the development of the affair. They were not forgotten. After all, the trial might be not so easy.

Galileo did not arrive to Rome until February 13, 1633. To his surprise, he had to wait a long time before he was summoned to the Holy Office. On February 26 ambassador Niccolini asked the Pope for a rapid trial, but Urban VIII told him that he did not know how long the trial would last, because the case was still being investigated28. Since the Pope was the head of the Holy Office, it is clear that the matter was taken very seriously. It is only on 12 April, two months after his arrival in Rome, that Galileo appeared before the Holy Office to make his deposition. We can assume that all relevant documents were examined in the meantime, including G3 and EE 291. We know the outcome. The trial focused on the Dialogue, and there could be no doubt that Galileo had disobeyed the injunction of 1616. From a legal point of view it seemed that the accusation could be entertained. Philosophical opinions about sensible qualities seemed irrelevant, and G3 and EE 291 were archived, and remained unnoticed until recently.

There is always the possibility that G3 was not deposited in the Vatican archives, but remained with Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who remembered it in 1632 and had it re-examined by Inchofer. Cerbu suggests that EE 291 was ‘a strictly personal memorandum, drafted in conjunction with the meetings of the special commission... The two pieces [G3 and EE 291] may well have remained in his [Inchofer's] possession for several years after he drafted his opinion, and been deposited with the Index in connection with his [Inchofer's] later duties as consultant here'29. It seems difficult to admit, however, that a member of the Preliminary Commission, such as Inchofer could keep G3 for himself, unless Cardinal Barberini handed it over to him. But in this case it would still be difficult to understand why Inchofer should have deposited G3 and EE 291 in the archives some years later.

 The meaning of EE 291 

Historians lament two lacunae in the records of the trial of Galileo. The first concerns the discussions that took place prior to his being summoned to Rome (August-September 1632), the second the preparation of the trial after he had arrived in Rome (February-March 1633). We know very little of the first, and almost nothing at all of the second, but EE 291 provides clues that can help us reconstruct those events.

We are not told in the official documents who first accused Galileo and whether anyone approached the Pope. Neither do we know if theDialogue was examined alone or whether other writings of his were taken into consideration. We do know, however, that the situation was very tense in Rome in 1632 when the papacy was deeply involved in the consequences of the Thirty Years War. In a consistory, the pro-Spanish Cardinal Borgia accused the Pope of favouring the Protestants on the grounds that his support of France served the interests of Sweden, an ally of France. The Pope did not want to appear weak on doctrinal matters and felt obliged to act firmly. Galileo's Dialoguecould only too easily be represented as a source of doctrinal error, and his adversaries suggested that it might even be an affront to the papacy. The three dauphins on the cover of the book, were said to be an implicit criticism of the nepotism of the Pope who had given important jobs to three members of his family. A more serious accusation was the fact that the Pope's argument about the undecidability of scientific theories had been placed at the end of the book in the mouth of Simplicio, the Aristotelian pedant who had made himself perfectly ridiculous. Seen in this light, G3 could be used to accuse Galileo of deviating from Catholic doctrine in fields other than the motion of the Earth. Although G3 and EE 291 were not mentioned at the trial, they could have played an important role during the period when evidence was being marshalled against him.

Thomas Cerbu has something like this in his mind when he alludes to the persecution of the Jesuits. Galileo later considered them the cause of his misfortune. But according to Cerbu, ‘Inchofer's troubles with his fellow Jesuits, starting with his two writings against heliocentrism, the Tractatus and the Vindiciae, and continuing to the very end of his life, make it difficult to count him among the Jesuits reputed in 1632 to be persecuting Galileo'30. In 1632, however, Inchofer's troubles with the members of his Order were not so big, and in his 1633 report on the Dialogue Inchofer goes out of his way to claim that ‘Galileo's main purpose was to fight Father Christopher Scheiner, a Jesuit who had very recently written against the Copernicans'31. This shows that in 1633 Inchofer was on Scheiner's side.


Other scenarios are possible. Although we are confident that Inchofer wrote EE 291 between 1631 and September 1632, and that there is a high probability that G3 was written around 1624, we cannot exclude that it was written in 1632, shortly before EE 291. But this would not affect our conclusion which is that G3 and EE 291 were used during the work of the Preparatory Commission in the Summer of 1632, or when the trial was being prepared in 1633, or perhaps in both cases. Perhaps we shall one day know who wrote G3 and when was it presented to the Index or the Holy Office. Other documents may surface, and new light may be shed on the circumstances that led to Galileo's trial. We do not believe, however, that the well-known facts about the Galileo Affair will be challenged. What was at stake was Galileo's failure to comply with a formal injunction not to teach that the Earth moves. The background theological issues were the authority of Scripture in scientific questions, and the relevance of geocentrism to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation and the Redemption. Many Catholics, some of them high-ranking members of the Church were aware of these problems and felt that they could be faced. As we learn more about the circumstances of the trial, we are strengthened in our conviction that Galileo's condemnation was not inevitable.

 Appendix I: the original latin document EE 291 

Archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,Index, Protocolli, vol. EE, f. 291r (new 301r-v)32

[f. 291r] Vidi discursum Lyncei et agnovi philosophiam esse eius hominis qui nunquam non verae philosophiae imposuit, sive errore, sive ignorantia, semper temerarie.

Errat in primis negando qualitates primas et secundas etiam in iis corporibus quae agunt in materiam externam, velut cum negat calorem inesse igni qui in nos agit calefaciendo.

2. Errat dicendo non posse conceptu separari a substantiis corporeis accidentia modificantia, velut quantitatem et quae ad quantitatem consequuntur. Quae opinio est absolute contra fidem, exemplo Eucharistiae, ubi quantitas non solum realiter distinguitur a sua substantia, sed etiam separata existit.

3. Errat cum dicit saporem, odorem, colorem, esse pura nomina, et quasi denominationes extrinsecas a corporibus sentientibus, quibus sublatis ipsa quoque huiusmodi accidentia tolli et annihilari, praesertim si sint distincta a primis veris et realibus accidentibus. Ex quo errore duo alii consequuntur: 1. Corpora eandem quantitatem et figuram habentia habere eosdem sapores, odores etc. 2. Corpora amittentia odorem et saporem, amittere etiam quantitatem et figuram a quibus sapor, odor etc. non distinguuntur in phantasia Lyncei.

4. Errat quod sensationes in corpore animalis vocet actiones, cum patitur ab obiecto extrinseco, velut cum titillatur a penna aut alio corpore. Sed hoc condonandum ruditati Philosophi.

5. Errat cum eandem velit esse rationem odoris et saporis, ac titillationis causatae ab agentibus extrinsecis; haec enim sentitur in passo iuxta dispositionem corporis organici, ad cuiusmodi sensationem per accidens se habet hoc vel illud agens in individuo: at sapores et odores etc. oriuntur ex qualitatibus obiectorum, ratione mixtionis hoc vel illo modo temperatae; ad quod viceversa per accidens se habet hoc vel illud organum sensationis in individuo, unde iuxta varias dispositiones, unus altero plus vel minus sentit.

6. Errat cum dicit, ferrum v.g. candens tantum calefaceret animalia sensu praedita; nam quodvis corpus appositum igni, dummodo sit mixtum et non quintae alicuius essentiae recipit calorem33. Idem dico si iuxta ponatur quodvis aliud corpus cuivis agenti per species sensibiles, a quo recipit easdem qualitates.

[f. 291v] 7. Recte deducitur ex opinione huius authoris, non manere accidentia in Eucharistia sine substantia panis. Patet, agunt enim in organum sensationis resolutione minimarum partium, quae cum sint heterogeneae a quantitate, alioqui[n] non afficerent nisi sensum tactus, erunt substantiae, non nisi ex substantia panis, quae enim alia potest assignari, proinde habetur intentum. Idemque sequitur non minus evidenter in ea sententia quae ponit partes substantiae entitativas, distinctas a quantitate dimensiva, nec distinctas realiter a substantia.

8. Recte etiam deducitur non manere alia accidentia in Eucharistia nisi quantitatem, figuram etc. nam sapor odor, sunt pura vocabula si non habeatur relatio ad sensum, in opinione scilicet erronea Lyncei; proinde absolute non sunt distincta accidentia a quantitate figura etc.

Si author per partes minimas intelligat species sensibiles, habebit patronos quosdam ex philosophia Aboriginum, sed plura cogetur asserere absurda nec salva in fide. Interim sufficiant ista ex quibus ulterior inquisitio fieri potest coram S. Officio.

 Appendix II: english translation of EE 291 

1. I saw the discourse of the Lyncean, which I recognise, as the philosophy of someone who does not adhere to the true philosophy. Whether this be through error or ignorance, it is always rash.

He errs in the first place, in denying primary and secondary qualities even in bodies that act on external matter, as when he denies that heat inheres in the fire that acts on us to warm us34.

2. He errs when he says that it is not possible to conceptually separate corporeal substances from the accidental properties that modify them, such as quantity and those that follow quantity. Such an opinion is absolutely contrary to faith, for instance in the case of the Eucharist, where quantity is not only really distinguished from substance but, moreover, exists separately.

3. He errs when he says that taste, smell, and colour are pure names, or like extrinsic denominations taken from bodies that can have sensations, so that if these bodies were destroyed the accidental properties would also be removed and annihilated, especially since they are said to be distinct from the primary, true, and real accidents. From this error two other follow: 1. Bodies that have the same quantity and the same shape will have the same taste, smell, etc. 2. Bodies that lose their smell and taste will also lose their quantity and their shape which, in the Lyncean's imagination, are not distinguished from taste, odour, etc.

4. He errs in calling actions the sensations of a living body that is acted upon by some external object, for instance when it is tickled by a feather or some other body. But this can be excused by the philosopher's lack of sophistication35.

5. He errs when he claims that the cause of smell and taste is the same as that of tickling that is caused by external agents since someone feels tickling according to the disposition of his organic body, so that such a sensation is accidentally related to whatever acts on the individual. But tastes and smells, etc., proceed from the properties of objects and result from the way they are mixed. Likewise the organ of sensation in a given individual is accidentally disposed in this or that way so that one person feels more or less than another one according to these different dispositions.

6. He errs when he says, for example, that a heated iron can only warm sentient beings, for any object, placed before a fire, will receive heat as long as it is a ‘mixed' body, and is not composed of some fifth essence36. And I say that the same happens whenever a body, placed next to a substance that acts by sensible qualities, receives the same qualities as that substance.

7. It immediately follows from the opinion of this author that in the Eucharist the accidental properties do not remain without the substance of the bread. This is evident for the accidental properties are said to act on the organ of sensation by being divided into very small particles which, since they are not the same as quantity (otherwise they would only act on the sense of touch) must be parts of the substance. And this can only be the substance of bread, for what else could it be? This clinches the argument. The same follows no less clearly from the statement that posits that the parts of the substance are distinct from dimensional quantity but not really distinct from the substance.

8. It also follows immediately that in the Eucharist no other accidental properties remain other than quantity, figure, etc., because taste and smell are mere words if they are not related to the senses, as the Lyncean erroneously believes. Therefore the accidental properties are absolutely not distinct from quantity, shape, etc.

If the author considers the smallest particles to be sensible species, he will find some support among ancient philosophers37, but he will have to affirm many things they are absurd and contrary to the faith. So much for now, which is enough for this matter to be further investigated by the Holy Office.


 (1) We have published four studies on the scientific, philosophical and theological aspects of the document in Acta Philosophica, the periodical of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome: M. Artigas, ‘Un nuovo documento sul caso Galileo: EE 291', Acta Philosophica, 10 (2001), 199-214; Rafael Martínez, ‘Il Manoscrito ACDF, Index, Protocolli, vol. EE, f. 291 r-v', ibid., 215-42; Lucas F. Mateo-Seco, ‘Galileo e l'Eucaristia. La questione teologica dell'ACDF, Index, Protocolli, EE, f. 291 r-v', ibid., 243-56; William R. Shea, ‘Galileo e l'atomismo', ibid., 257-72.

 (2) Galileo Galilei,Il Saggiatore in A. Favaro (ed.), Le Opere di Galileo Galilei (Florence: G. Barbèra, 1890-1909), vol. VI, 197-372. Quoted in the following as Opere, followed by the Latin number of the volume and the Arabic number of the pages.

 (3) Pietro Redondi,Galileo Eretico (Turin: Einaudi, 1983); Galileo Heretic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).

 (4) Maffeo Barberini to Galileo, 24 June 1623: Opere, XIII, 119.

 (5) De tribus cometis anni MDCXVIII Disputatio Astronomica publice habita in Collegio Romano Societatis Iesu ab uno ex Patribus eiusdem Societatis (Roma: Iacobi Mascardi, 1619): Opere, VI, 19-35.

 (6) Discorso delle comete di Mario Guiducci, fatto da lui nell'Accademia Fiorentina nel suo medesimo co n solato (Firenze: Stamperia di Pietro Cecconcelli, 1619): Opere, VI, 39-105.

 (7) Libra Astronomica ac Philosophica qua Galilæi Galilæi Opiniones de Cometis a Mario Guiducio in Florentina Academia expositæ, atque in lucem nuper editae, examinantur a Lothario Sarsio Sigensano (Perugia: Typographia Marci Naccarini, 1619):Opere, VI, 111-180.

 (8) Opere, VI, 232.

 (9) Mario Guiducci to Galileo, 21 June 1624: Opere, XIII, 186.

 (10) Opere, VI, 232.

 (11) There is a pencil pagination, apparently more recent, where sheets 291, 292 and 293 are indicated as 301, 302 and 303. We prefer the older pagination that Redondi used in his book. The new document EE 291 occupies 291 recto-verso (301 in the pencil pagination), and G3 292 recto-verso and 293 recto (302 and 303 in the pencil pagination).

 (12) Cfr. L. Szilas, ‘Inchofer', in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie Eccl é si a stiques, vol. XXV (Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1995), col. 979-980; Catalogi personarum et off i ciorum provinciae Austriae S.I., a cura di L. Lukács, vol. II: Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 125 (Roma: Institutum Historicum S.I, 1982); D. Dümmerth, ‘Les combats et la tragédie du Père Melchior Inchofer S. J. à Rome (1641-1648)', Annales Universitatis Scientiarum Budapestinensis, Sectio Historica, 17 (1976), 81-112.

 (13) Francesco Niccolini to Andrea Cioli, 11 September 1632: Opere, XIV, 389.

 (14) W. Shea, ‘Melchior Inchofer's Tractatus Syllepticus: A Consultor of the Holy Office Answers Galileo', in P. Galluzzi (ed.),Novità celesti e crisi del sapere (Florence: Barbèra, 1983), 283-92; F. Beretta, ‘«Omnibus Christianae, Catholicaeque Philosophiae amantibus». LeTractatus syllepticus de Melchior Inchofer, censeur de Galilée', Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, 48 (2001), 301-25.

 (15) U. Baldini and L. Spruit, ‘Nuovi documenti galileiani degli Archivi del Sant'Ufficio e dell'Indice', Rivista di storia della filosofia, 56 (2001), 661-99.

 (16) T. Cerbu, ‘Melchior Inchofer, «un homme fin & rusé»', in: José Montesinos and Carlos Solís (eds.), Largo campo di filosofare. Eurosymposium Galileo 2001 (La Orotava, Tenerife: Fundación Canaria Orotava de Historia de la Ciencia, 2001), 587-611.

 (17) It is very similar especially to EE f. 125r-v, which seems to date from 1630, and to FF f. 521r-v, from the first half of 1634.

 (18) Mario Guiducci to Galileo, Opere, XIII, 265.

 (19) See S. Pagano (ed.), I doc u menti del processo di Galileo Galilei (Città del Vaticano: Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, 1984), 43-48.

 (20) P. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica medii et recentioria aevi (Münster, 1935), 12. There is another possibility, namely that the coat of arms was that of one of the Cardinals Gondi, who in the 16 th and 17 th centuries occupied the see of Paris: Pietro (1533-1616), since 1595 ambassador in Rome, his nephew Enrico (1572-1622), and Giovanni Francesco (1584-1654), who succeeded his brother.

 (21) Tiberio Muti to Antonio De' Medici, 9 April 1611: Opere, XI, 87. There is an error in the edition by Favaro, where the letter is signed ‘Il Car. Muti'. In 1611, Tiberio Muti was not yet a Cardinal, but was a member of the chapter of Saint Peter. Instead of Car. (Cardinal) one should read Can. (Canon).

 (22) SeeOpere, XII, 240-41 and 411-12.

 (23) SeeOpere, XX, 491. Carlo Muti was born in 1591.

 (24) The last meeting he attended was on 19 September 1633 (see Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,Index,Diari, vol. IV, p. 68).

 (25) We sometimes find variant of watermarks in writings apparently unrelated to the original. For instance, there are different versions of the watermark with Muti's coat of arms in the manuscript of Th. Ameyden Elogia Summorum Pontif i cum et S.R.E. Cardinalium suo aevo defunctorum (Bibl. Casanatense, ms. 1336). This is explained by the friendship between Muti and Ameyden, who had access to his writing paper.

 (26) Piero Dini to Galileo, 18 April 1615: Opere, XII, 173.

 (27) S. Pagano (ed.),I doc u menti del processo di Galileo Galilei, op cit, 223 (document n. 7). There we find also another document on the same subject, found by Pagano in the ‘Stanza Storica' in the archives (document n. 6, pp. 222-23), but we do not know whether it is an original or a later copy.

 (28) Francesco Niccolini to Andrea Cioli, 26 February 1633: Opere, XV, 56.

 (29) Cerbu, ‘Melchior Inchofer, «un homme fin & rusé»', op cit, 598.

 (30) Ibid.

 (31) S. Pagano (ed.),I documenti del processo di Galileo Galilei, op cit, 143.

 (32) The original punctuation, which is not always consistent, has been normalised. Other details have also been normalised, for instance, by substituting "ij" by "ii", or writing full words instead of abbreviations.

 (33) Aftercalorem, and before cuivis agenti, the author had written iuxta positum igni, aut, now cancelled. Between the lines, the same hand has added the corrected text: Idem dico si iuxta p o natur aliud corpus.

 (34) The words ‘primary and secondary qualities' (literally first and second qualities) that are used in the document are not found in theAssayer where Galileo uses first accidents when he refers to objective qualities. The terminology primary and secondary qualities was developed by John Locke in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding where he describes the primary qualities of bodies as ‘utterly inseparable from the body, in what state soever it be (...) viz. solidity, extension, figure, motion or rest, and number' (J. Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. A. Campbell Fraser [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1894], book II, ch. VIII, par. 9: vol. I, 169-70). This is close to what Galileo writes in the Assayer: ‘I say that upon conceiving of a material or corporeal substance, I immediately feel the need to conceive simultaneously that it is bounded and has this or that shape, that is big or small with respect to others, that it is in this place or that at any given time; that it moves or stays still; that it does or does not touch another body; and that it is one, few, or many. I cannot separate it from these conditions by any stretch of my imagination.' (Opere, VI, 347). Secondary qualities of bodies for Locke are ‘such qualities which in truth are nothing in the objects themselves but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities, i.e. by the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts, as colours, sounds, tastes, &c.' (Locke, Essay, ibid., par. 10, 170). Galileo says much the same in the Assayer: ‘I think that tastes, odours, colours, and so on are no more than mere names so far as pertains to the subject wherein they seem to reside, and that they have their habitation only in the sensorium. Thus, if the living creature (l'animale) were removed, all these qualities would be removed and annihilated. Yet since we have given them particular names that differ from the names of the other first and real attributes (primi e reali accidenti), we like to believe that they are also truly and really different from them.' (Opere, VI, 348).

 (35) The author is interpreting Galileo in the light of his own Aristotelian philosophy. Galileo does not refer to ‘sensations' as ‘actions'. This is an error of interpretation. What Galileo actually says in The Assayer is the following: ‘I believe I can explain my idea better by means of some examples. I move my hand first over a marble statue and then over a living man. Now as to the action derived from my hand, this is the same with respect to both subjects so far as the hand is concerned; it consists of the primary phenomena of motion and touch which we have not designated by any other names. But the animate body, which receives these operations, feels diverse sensations according to the various parts, which are touched. Being touched on the soles of the feet, for example, or upon the knee or under the armpit, it feels in addition to the general sense of touch another sensation upon which we have conferred a special name, calling it tickling; this sensation belongs entirely to us and not to the hand in any way. It seems to me that anyone would seriously err who might wish to say that the hand had within itself, in addition to the properties of moving and touching, another faculty different from these; that of tickling - as if the tickling were an attribute which resided in the hand. A piece of paper or a feather drawn lightly over any part of our bodies performs what are inherently quite the same operations of mowing and touching; by touching the eye, the nose, or the upper lip it excites in us an almost intolerable titillation while in other regions it is scarcely felt. Now this titillation belongs entirely to us and not to the feather; if the animate and sensitive body were removed, it would remain no more than a mere name. And I believe that many qualities which we come to attribute to natural bodies, such as tastes, odours, colours, and other things, may be of similar and no more solid existence': Opere, VI, 348.

 (36) In other words, a sublunary body and not a celestial one of the kind Aristotle considered to be composed of a ‘fifth' kind of matter. It is interesting that in the passage of The Assayer that is being considered (VI, 348, l. 36 - 350, l. 21) Galileo applies the theory of the four elements to his own purposes: the different sensations are produced by the particles of fire (odour), earth (touch), water (taste) and air (sound).

 (37) The censor writes, ‘the philosophy of the Aborigines', which is probably intended as a reference to the pre-Socratic philosophers.


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