Maffeo Barberini (Urban VIII) 1568-1644

Maffeo Barberini was the son of an important Florentine family. He was an erudite clergyman interested in many diverse areas, such as: philosophy, law and literature. Barberini held various diplomatic and Episcopal positions. In 1606, Barberini was nominated to the rank of cardinal,the highest rank in the Episcopal hierarchy below that of the Pope, and in 1623 he was elected to the Papal Seat under the name: Urban VIII.

Galileo and his supporters were also among these philosophers. Barberini was acquainted with Galileo from his days in Florence, and he kept up his friendly ties with him. In October 1923, Galileo published his book "The Assayer", which was devoted to the new Pope. Following publication of the book, Barberini was particularly friendly to Galileo, invited him to six interviews, and declared him to be the Pope's beloved son.

Barberini subscribed to the new philosophical and artistic ideas. During his tenure as cardinal in Florence he established ties with many of the more prominent artists and philosophers in Italy and France. In his capacity as Pope, he kept these ties and encouraged the new trends of the period. He drew many artists and philosophers to Rome, where they enjoyed his sponsorship.

With the political changes at the end of the 20's and beginning of the 30's of the 17th century. Barberini, as the pope Urban XIII, became estranged from the new pro-French intellectual circles, and grew closer to the more conservative circles supported by Spain. This change in his policy also found expression in his attitude toward Galileo, from whom he kept his distance after publication of the Dialogue and in the course of the Trial The pope's attitude was important in the questions raised during Galileo's inquest. .

(Barberini picture is from - Galileo, Ronan, Colin A. , 1974 , p. 211)

Andrea / Mail / Home Page