Letter from Galileo to Kepler

August 19, 1610

“You are the first and almost the only person who, even after but a cursory investigation, has, such is your openness of mind and lofty genius, given entire credit to my statements…. We will not trouble ourselves about the abuse of the multitude, for against Jupiter even giants, to say nothing of pigmies, fight in vain.  Let Jupiter stand in the heavens, and let eh sycophants bark at him as they will….In Pisa, Florence, Bologna, Venice, and Padua many have seen the planets; but all are silent on the subject and undecided, for the greater number recognize neither Jupiter nor Mars and scarcely the moon as planet.  At Venice one man spoke against me, boasting that he knew for certain that my satellites of Jupiter, which he had several times observed, were not planets because they were always to be seen with Jupiter, and either all of some them, now followed and now preceded him.  What is to be done?  Shall we side with Democritus or Heraclitus? I think, my Kepler, we will laugh at the extraordinary stupidity of the multitude.  What do you say to the leading philosophers of the faculty here, to whom I have offered a thousand times of my own accord to show my studies, but who with the lazy obstinacy of a serpent who has eaten his fill have never consented to look at planets, nor moon, nor telescope?  Verily, just as serpents close their ears, so do these men close their eyes to the light of truth.  These are great matters; yet they do not occasion any surprise.  People of this sort thin that philosophy is a kind of book like the AEneid or the Odyssey, and that the truth is to be sought, not in the universe, not in nature, but (I use their own words) by comparing texts!  How you would laugh if you heard what things the first philosopher of the faculty at Pisa brought against me in the presence of the Grand Duke, for he tried, now with logical arguments, now with magical adjurations, to tear down and argue the new planets our of heaven.”

Source: Karl Von Gebler, Galileo Galilei, p. 26  (1879).          

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