Heliocentric Theory Of Astronomy

1495 Words 6 Pages
It was a warm June day in Rome. Francesco Niccolini, a Tuscan ambassador, and Galileo Galilei, an aging mathematician, sat in the Villa Medici awaiting their call to the Holy Office. It had been months since the beginning of his trial with the Roman Inquisition and Galileo was ready to be finished with the ordeal. He had been ill since the first session of his interrogation back in April and his condition had continued to worsen. Niccolini had already been informed of the old man’s sentence, but chose to keep the information to himself. Galileo was finally called to his audience with the cardinals of the court. His heart raced in anticipation of the outcome. Would he be allowed to return home to Pisa, or would this be his final day on earth? …show more content…
Until Galileo, the idea that the earth, not the sun, was the center of the universe was highly accepted throughout the world. The first documented theory of a heliocentric universe surfaced around 310 – 230 BCE with Aristarchus of Samos. After this, however, the geocentric theory dominated society for over one thousand years. Ptolemy and Aristotle, both ancient Greek scientists and astronomers, popularized the earth-centered universe. They believed that ten concentric spheres constructed the cosmos, with a fixed and motionless earth at its center. The first eight of these held the planets and the stars, while the ninth and tenth allowed for the motion of the others. Aristotle believed that the perfect shape was a circle, so he asserted that each sphere must move circularly around the earth. In the Middle Ages, the idea of the Empyrean Heaven was introduced to the Ptolemaic Universe. This final portion existed beyond the tenth sphere and held God and all of the saved Christian souls. By adding this to the geocentric theory, Christians created a finite universe with earth and humans at its center. This idea fit perfectly within their biblical perspective as well as evolving humanist …show more content…
Luther’s ideas communicated a number of economic, social, and political tensions within the religion. Many leaders who challenged the authority of the papacy, found justification for their ideas within Protestantism, and used it to further their own independence and temporal power. This created quite the problem for the Church as they relied on taxes and tithes from these areas to fund their expansive building projects as well as the lifestyles of church leaders. The papacy realized that in order to remain influential, it must reform some of its practices. Throughout the mid-to-late sixteenth century, the Catholic Church began to revitalize some of its oldest traditions and to adjust them to meet the changing attitudes of European society. The Council of Trent, called by Pope Paul III, took place from 1545 to 1563. This meeting of cardinals, archbishops, abbots, bishops, and theologians met in Trent to discuss how to best combat Protestantism. The largest argument between these church leaders consisted of whether to compromise their doctrines to encourage the return of Protestants to the Church, or to reiterate traditional teachings in strong opposition to the Protestants. The latter group’s position won out, and the Council of Trent created a strict body of doctrine for Catholics that unified Christendom and reaffirmed traditional

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