Lucilio Vanini

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lucilio Vanini (called himself Julius Caesar Vanini ; * 1585 in Taurisano near Lecce , † February 9, 1619 in Toulouse ) was an Italian philosopher and theologian. He was condemned as a heretic by the Inquisition and executed at the stake .

Lucilio Vanini (bronze medallion by Ettore Ferrari (1889) on the Bruno monument in Rome)
Homage to Giulio Cesare Vanini at the place of his death.


Vanini was born in 1585 in the small town of Taurisano near Lecce ( Apulia ) as the son of an official. He comes from an old Neapolitan family. Vanini gave himself the code name "Julius Caesar V.". He studied theology, philosophy (intensive study of Aristotle's writings ) and jurisprudence in Rome and Padua . He was influenced by the philosophers Pietro Pomponazzi , Bernardino Telesio , Gerolamo Cardano and Andrea Cesalpino . After being ordained a priest in Padua, Vanini traveled to Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France, among others. In 1614 he went to England, where he spent nine days in prison. He taught philosophy in Genoa.

In Lyon in 1615 he published his work Amphitheatrum aeternae providentiae ... ("the amphitheater of eternal providence"), in which he represents a pantheism . Another work followed in 1616, De admirandis naturae, reginae deaeque mortalium arcanis ("Of the wonderful secrets of the queen and goddess of mortals, of nature"), which was initially approved by the Sorbonne , but was later condemned to public burning.

In 1617 Vanini moved to Paris, where he worked as an educator.

In 1618 he was arrested for his public atheist lectures. A six-month trial of heresy and blasphemy followed. Vanini's defense of the accusation of atheism through the scene from the straw became famous. He picked it up from the ground, showed it to the accuser and said that this stalk already convinced him of God's existence. That was not accepted. Vanini was sentenced to death by fire in 1619 . His tongue was torn out with pliers. An eyewitness describes Vanini's cry of pain as the most terrifying sound ever heard by a human. He was then executed at the stake at the age of 33.

Philosophy and meaning

Vanini is now less considered a deep philosophical thinker, but is often overshadowed by Giordano Bruno and is known as a heretic primarily because of the cruelty of his execution. Vanini made the transition from the Averroistic Aristotelianism of the Renaissance to the pantheistic natural philosophy determined by Gerolamo Cardano and Bernardino Telesio .

For him God is infinite, eternal, timeless being, which has created the world out of itself and is active in it, in that he (in it) is everything in everything. The power of God is expressed in nature, yes, God himself. The world is eternal, the uniform matter is quantitatively constant, since only its forms change.

Vanini receives hardly any attention in the current, relevant lexicons. It was different in the first half of the 19th century. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel dedicated a seven-page section to him in his lectures on the history of philosophy (1833/36) after Giordano Bruno. Friedrich Hölderlin wrote a poem "Vanini". Even Arthur Schopenhauer praised the anti-theistic position of the Italian and put his martyrdom beside the Giordano Bruno out.


  • Iulii Caesaris Vanini: Amphitheatrum aeternae providentiae divino-magicum, christiano-physicum, nec con astrologo-catholicum, adversus veteres philosophos, Atheos, Epicureos, Peripateticos et Stoicos , Lugduni, Apud Viduam Antonii de Harsy, 1615 ( digitalisat )
  • Iulii Caesaris Vanini: De admirandis naturae, reginae deaeque mortalium arcanis, libri IV , Lutetiae, Apud Adrianum Perier, 1616. ( digitized version )
  • Luigi Corvaglia, ed .: Le opere di Giulio Cesare Vaninie e le loro fonti , I-II (Milano), (1933–1934).
  • GC Vanini: Opere , ed. Giovanni Papuli e Francesco Paolo Raimondi, Galatina, Congedo, 1990.
  • french Translation by X. Rousselot: Oeuvres philosophiques de Vanini traduites pour la première fois , Paris, Gosselin, 1842.
  • Italian translation: Guido Porzio, Le opere di Giulio Cesare Vanini tradotte per la prima volta in italiano con prefazione del traduttore , I-II, Lecce, Bortone, 1912; Francesco Paolo Raimondi - Luigi Crudo, L'Anfiteatro dell'eterna provvidenza , Galatina, Congedo, 1981; Francesco Paolo Raimondi, I meravigliosi segreti della natura, regina e dea dei mortali , Galatina, Congedo, 1990.


  • Wilhelm David Fuhrmann: Life and fates, spirit, character and meyings of the LV, an alleged atheist in the seventeenth century , Leipzig, by Johann Gottfried Grassé, 1800. ( digitized version )
  • J.-R. Armogathe: Jules-César Vanini: une rhetorique de la subversion , “Kairos. Revue de la Faculté de Philosophy de l'Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail ”, 12, 1998, pp. 143-58.
  • F. Bozzi: La ratio e le leges in Giulio Cesare Vanini , “Il Pensiero Politico”, VIII, 1975, pp. 299-321.
  • JP Cavaille: Dis / simulation Jules-César Vanini, François La Mothe Le Vayer, Gabriel Naudé, Louis Machon et Torquato Accetto. Religion, morale et politique au XVIe siècle , Paris, Champion, 2002.
  • A. Corsano : Per la storia del pensiero del tardo Rinascimento, II. GC Vanini , “Giornale Critico della Filosofia Italiana”, XXXVII, 1958, pp. 201-44
  • DM Fazio: Giulio Cesare Vanini nella cultura filosofica tedesca del Sette e Ottocento. Da Brucker a Schopehnauer , Galatina, Congedo, 1995.
  • D. Foucalt: Un philosophe libertin dans l'Europe baroque: Giulio Cesare Vanini (1585-1619), Paris, Champion, 2003.
  • T. Gregory: Erudizione e ateismo nella cultura del Seicento. Il Theophrastus redivivus , “Giornale storico della Filosofia Italiana”, LI (LIII), 1972, pp. 194-240.
  • T. Gregory: Etica e religione nella critica libertina , Napoli, Guida, 1986;
  • T. Gregory: Genèse de la raison classique de Charron à Descartes , Paris, Puf, 2000.
  • T. Gregory: Apologeti e libertini , “Giornale Critico della Filosofia Italiana”, LXXIX (LXXXI), 2001, pp. 1-35.
  • Wolfdietrich von KloedenLucilio Vanini. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 19, Bautz, Nordhausen 2001, ISBN 3-88309-089-1 , Sp. 1464-1470.
  • Ernst Münch : Giulio Cesare (Lucilio) Vanini . In: Ders .: Biographical-historical studies . Hallberger Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart 1836, Volume 1, pp. 321–454.
  • Fritz Mauthner : Atheism and its History in the West, Volume 2 , Stuttgart, 1921 ( digitized version of the first edition (PDF; 241 MB))
  • É. Namer: La vie et l'oeuvre de Jules-César Vanini, Prince des libertins, mort à Toulouse sur le bucher en 1619 , Paris, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 1980.
  • A. Nowicki: Centralne kategorie filozofii Vaniniego , Warszawa, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1970.
  • G. Papuli: Le interpretazioni di GC Vanini , Galatina, Congedo, 2006.
  • G. Papuli: Studi vaniniani , Galatina, Congedo, 2006.
  • FP Raimondi: Le Retour de Vanini dans le Monde Catholique à la lumière de nouveaux documents londiniens , “La Lettre Clandestine”, 11 (2001), pp. 135-155.
  • FP Raimondi: Il soggiorno vaniniano in Inghilterra alla luce di nuovi documenti spagnoli e londinesi , “Bollettino di Storia della Filosofia dell'Università degli Studi di Lecce”, XII, 1996–2002, pp. 96–147.
  • FP Raimondi: Giulio Cesare Vanini nell'Europa del Seicento, con una appendice documentaria , Pisa-Roma, Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 2005.
  • FP Raimondi (ed.): Giulio Cesare Vanini e il libertinismo. Atti del Convegno di Studi tenutosi a Taurisano il 28-30 ottobre 1999 , Galatina, Congedo, 2000.
  • FP Raimondi (ed.): Giulio Cesare Vanini: dal tardo Rinascimento al Libertinisme érudit. Atti del Convegno di Studi Lecce-Taurisano 24-26 ottobre 1985 , Galatina, Congedo, 2002.
  • FP Raimondi: Vanini e il 'De tribus impostoribus' , Ethos e Cultura, Studi in onore di E. Riondato, Miscellanea erudita LI-LII, v. I, Padova, Antenore, 1991, pp. 265-290.
  • G. Spini: Vaniniana , “Rinascimento”, I, 1950, pp. 71-90.
  • G. Spini: Ricerca dei libertini. La teoria dell'impostura delle religioni nel Seicento italiano , Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1983.
  • C. Vasoli: Riflessioni sul problema Vanini , in S. BERTELLI, Il libertinismo in Europa , Milano-Napoli, 1980, pp. 125-167.

Web links

Commons : Lucilio Vanini  - collection of images, videos and audio files