The Lynx and the Telescope

The Parallel Worlds of Cesi and Galileo


Set in the context of Counter-Reformation Rome, this book focuses on the twenty-year long relationship (1611-1630) between Galileo Galilei and Federico Cesi, the founder of the Academy of the Lynx-eyed. Contrary to the historiographical tradition, it demonstrates that the visions of Galileo and Cesi were not at all convergent. In the course of the events that led to the adoption of the anti-Copernican decree of 1616, Galileo realized that the Lynceans were not prepared to support his battle for freedom of thought. In addition to identifying the author of the anonymous denunciation of Galileo’s Assayer, Paolo Galluzzi offers an original reconstruction of the dynamics which culminated in the Church’s condemnation of the famous Tuscan scientist in 1633.

This book was originally published in Italian as Libertà di filosofare in naturalibus: I mondi paralleli di Cesi e Galileo (Storia dell’Accademia dei Lincei, Studi 4). Rome: Scienze e Lettere, Editore Commerciale, 2014.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Paolo Galluzzi is Director of the Museo Galileo, Florence, member of the Royal Academy of Science, Stockholm and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome. He authored more than 250 publications on Leonardo da Vinci, the Scientific Revolution, Galileo and scientific academies.

“Many of the details presented by Galluzzi will certainly be new to the uninitiated reader, as is the perspective of his narrative. Whereas Galileo’s scientific achievements in general and his conflict with the Church hierarchy are all well known and have been documented many times over, his relationship with the Accademia dei Lincei and the influence exerted in both directions present a new and interesting view on the episode in question. All this makes valuable reading for anyone who works in the field or is interested in these developments at the threshold of the scientific age.”
Wolfgang Osterhage, in: Isis, Vol. 110, No. 2 (June 2019), pp. 403-404.

“This book is an important revision to our understanding of the Lincean Academy, one of the earliest scientific societies.” Sheila J. Rabin, Saint Peter’s University, emerita. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Fall 2019), pp. 1045-1046. Praise for the Italian edition:

“Paolo Galluzzi’s most recent publication is a deep immersion into the first quarter of the seventeenth century, with a narrative that switches back and forth between Florence and Rome and between Federico Cesi, founder and soul of the Accademia dei Lincei, and Galileo Galilei, member of the same academy.”
Matteo Valleriani, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. In: Isis, Vol. 106, No. 4 (December 2015), pp. 919-920.

“In his latest big book, Paolo Galluzzi presents all the known material on the relations between Galileo and Cesi and evaluates it in his usual exact and judicious manner. As a bonus, he describes Cesi’s complicated publications on natural history with immense patience and admirable clarity.”
John L. Heilbron, University of California Berkeley. In: Quaderni storici, Vol. 150. No. 3 (December 2015), pp. 873-882.

“By resorting to an impressive amount of primary sources and by tackling Cesi’s often obscure Latin writings, Galluzzi provides historians with a meticulous investigation of Cesi’s works and sheds new light on a key topic in Galileo’s career.”
Antonio Clericuzio, Università di Roma Tre. In: Nuncius, Vol. 30, No. 3 (2015), pp. 709-714.
List of Figures
Note to the Reader
1 “The Secret of the Eyeglass”
 A ‘Piece of Nonsense’?
 Winning Over the Minds at the Collegio Romano
 Second Class Telescopes
2 Parallel Convergences?
 The Encounter
 Mutant Lynxes in the Academy’s Menagerie
 Initiation Ceremonies
3 Fluid Heavens
 Wavering Certainties
 Tycho or Telesio?
 The Revival of Martianus Capella
Coup de théâtre
 Storm Clouds Gather
4 Building a Friendship
 New Spectacles in the Heavens
 Books, Frontispieces, Theatres, Mirrors and Ladders
 Embarrassing Omissions
 The ‘Lincean Telescope’
5 The Copernican System versus Holy Scripture
 The Spectre of Giordano Bruno
 Celestial Animals
 Questions of Character?
 The League of Pigeons Launches the Attack
6 Images of Nature: Book or Theatre?
 Prohibition ‘Is Also Done in Case of Doubt’
 The Natural Desire for Knowledge
 Simulated versus True Religion
 Miraculous Rains
7 Confronting the New Scenario
 Cesi-Bellarmine: Attempts at Dialogue
 ‘The Time Has Come to Grant Greater Freedom of Thought’
 Kepler Enters the Scene
8 Relaunching Copernicanism
 Ariosto versus Tasso
 The Copernican System Overthrown?
 A Delicate Balance
 The Ebb and Flow of Fortune
 Tommaso Caccini Back on Stage?
9 Metamorphosis of a Conjuncture: from ‘Marvellous’ to ‘Unfavourable’
 Boating on the Lake
 An Ambiguous Funeral
 A Copernican Carriage
 Calamitous Novelties
 The Turncoat
 Elephants and Mites
10 From the Heavens to the Bowels of the Earth
 The Merging of the Two Projects
 Up and Down the Ladder of Nature
 Flowing Natures
 Mother Earth
 Botany for Metaphysicians?
 The Fate of Cesi’s Fossil Wood Researches
11 The Immaculate Conception of the Barberini Bees
 Honey as a Gift from the Heavens and the Earth
 ‘This Work Has Been Done for the Sole Purpose of Pleasing Patrons’
12 Plants as Compendium of Nature
 Laying Out the Pages of the Book of Nature
 Syntax, Painting, Theatre, Garden
 A Galilean Syntaxis?
 The Multiple Gaze of the Botanist
 The Elusive Geometry of Plants
 Glimmerings of Consciousness and Sexual Drives
 The Bologna Stone Again
 The Garden of Flavours
 Food for the Mind
 A Preformistic Conception?
 Nature Was Not Created Once and for All
 Names as Shadows of Things
 ‘It Has Been Impossible to Persuade Him to Make a Will’
Index of Names
All interested in early modern European culture, the relations between science and religion and science and society, the history of scientific academies, Copernicanism, atomism, Galileo and the Scientific Revolution.