[Music with harpsichord and drum plays]
Voiceover: This is an audio dramatisation from the State Library of Victoria.
Man: Tensions are very high here in the offices of the Pope. It is June the 23rd in 1632, a very hot day in Rome. I’ve been told we can find Galileo Galilei in the office of the papal secretary. Just yesterday he was sentenced for publishing his latest book.
[Sound of a creaky door opening]
Galileo [in an Italian accent]: Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?
Giovanni [in an Italian accent]: Dannazione!You were told!
Man: Forgive me.
Giovanni: It’s alright, come in.
Man: That seemed to me quite a serious sentence for just publishing a book.
Giovanni: Remember that 17 years ago he was forbidden to publish anything that contradicts church doctrine.
Galileo: My book is a harmless dialogue – a simple conversation of ideas about the nature of the universe.
Giovanni: Ah, but you see my friend, the character he created, the one who speaks the view of the church, he named him ‘Simplicio’. This book ridicules the Pope. Galileo, what did you expect?
Galileo: I expected them to be reasonable men.
Giovanni: They are men of the church and men of great power, not men of reason.
Galileo: This Holy Inquisition is a farce. This is not about reason or faith, nor the mechanics of the universe. It is about fear.
Man: What does the Holy Roman Catholic Church have to fear?
Galileo: E la brutta figura.
Galileo: Any true dialogue concerning the two chief world systems will not be tolerated by the church.
Man: So your book is a threat to the authority of the church?
Giovanni: The Holy Inquisition has prohibited his book and very nearly sentenced him a heretic. I risk a great deal even receiving him in my office.
Galileo: Indeed, Giovanni, you have been a great friend to me and I have a great favour to ask.
Giovanni: I warned you that publishing was risky. I did all that I could to protect you. You have barely escaped with your life. What is it you ask?
Galileo: I make a plea. Not to my friend Giovanni Ciampoli, but to the papal secretary – please, not for me, not for God, not for philosophy, but for the people. God alone knows what will come of the copies of Dialogue in print. I assume the church will find them and burn them. Take this copy and bury it deep in the library. Hide it there that it may be found years hence, that this copy at least remains a printed record of how a man of science saw things in the year of Our Lord 1632. Humanity should remember this about itself.
Giovanni: There are many books in His Holiness’ collection. You would be surprised to see some of them, I think. I can promise nothing. I helped you to get this printed, remember. I am certain they will come for me next. I doubt I have many days left in this office.
Galileo: Then you must take this copy.
Man: Well, I …
Giovanni: Attenzione, you must both go. Galileo, I’ve heard that tomorrow you are to be placed in the custody of the Florentine ambassador Niccolini.
Voiceover: This has been an audio dramatisation from the State Library of Victoria.