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Database: Man of Controversy

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Oxford, England, 1583


Having gained widespread fame and notoriety for his outstanding memory retention and grasp of the mnemonic system, Giordano Bruno quickly gained the favor of some of Europe's most influential individuals, including Pope Pius V and King Henry III of France.

Bruno was an Italian Dominican friar, astronomer, mathematician, and Hermeticist. His thirst for cosmological knowledge saw him surpass the models of Nicolaus Copernicus. He proposed that the Sun was but one star in a sky of infinite stars, which were orbited by an infinite number of planets inhabited by intelligent extraterrestrial life.

In 1593, Bruno travelled to England at the recommendation of Henry III. There, he met with members of the Hermetic inner circle who surrounded John Dee. Whether or not he met with Dee himself and what he accomplished at these meetings remains a mystery to this day. Bruno lectured at Oxford University for a time, but his controversial theories did not sit well with other educators and he was denied a permanent position.

His flair for displeasing powerful people proved to be his demise, as he was later arrested during the Roman Inquisition, branded a heretic, and burned at the stake.

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