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Vol. 20 No. 2 (2023)

Il Saggiatore at 400. An early modern controversy and its legacy. Introduction

13 September 2023


The text is a short introduction to Galilei’s Il Saggiatore and to the essays in the Focus. Il Saggiatore was published in response to a cometary dispute started in 1619 by the publication of the Jesuit Orazio Grassi’s De tribus cometis disputatio. Il Saggiatore challenged Grassi’s methodology and results, as well as prevailing beliefs about comets. The text also served as a cultural platform for Galilei and the Accademia dei Lincei. It ignited debates, prompted a response from Grassi, and led to personal attacks on Galileo, further straining his relations with the Jesuits. The volume also faced accusations of supporting Copernicanism and atomism. Four centuries later, Galileo’s work continues to inspire reflection on its cultural and intellectual significance: this Focus provides multiple viewpoints on the controversies that accompanied Il Saggiatore and its aftermath.