|Galileo's finger immortalized!|
Galileo Galilei, the developer of the modern telescope, the man who proved by observation that the Earth moved around the sun, that Jupiter had moons that orbited around it, that the moon wasn't a smooth sphere and that the sun sometimes got spots on it, spent the last years of his life under house arrest for "vehement heresy" under orders from the Holy Inquisition. He was forced to publicly disavow his own research, promise not to believe what he believed anymore and then to add insult to injury, was even refused burial next to his father in the Basilica of St. Croi, but was instead shunted off to a box in a small room next to the novices' chapel because the Pope didn't want a condemned heretic buried with the decent folk.
Later after overwhelming corroborative evidence forced the Church to back off it's persecution of Galileo, his body was moved back to the Basilica where a monument was erected in his honor.Now here's where it gets interesting. While moving his body, three fingers of his right hand and a tooth were removed. One of his fingers, ironically the middle finger from Galileo's right hand, wound up on exhibition at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy where the venerable scientist's middle finger is displayed raised in what some would say was an appropriate gesture directed at those who persecuted him.
© 2014 by Tom King