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Summary Article: Campanella, Tommaso
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Italian philosopher. Born in Calabria, he was implicated in the Calabrian revolt against their Spanish ruler and was imprisoned 1599–1626. He wrote many books in prison, the best known being his utopian fantasy La città del sole/The City of the Sun (written about 1602). His works try to reconcile religion and the science of his day, and his views on the nature of knowledge anticipate the philosophy of Descartes.

Campanella was born at Silo. Like Giordano Bruno, he began his career by joining the Dominican Order in 1582. In 1591 he published Philosophia sensibus demonstrata/Philosophy Demonstrated by the Senses, in which, rejecting Aristotelianism, he insisted that knowledge should be based on a close observation of the natural world. His De monarcha Christianorum/Christian Monarchy (1593) set out his ideas on the reform of the church and society.

The church found his views, which were strongly influenced by Bernardino Telesio, deeply suspect. After trials in Naples in 1592 and Padua in 1593 on charges of heresy and blasphemy, he moved to Rome and then, in 1598, back to Calabria during a revolt against Spanish rule. The revolt quickly collapsed and he was arrested (on little or no evidence) and imprisoned in Naples. Frequently tortured, he was finally sentenced to life imprisonment. When finally released in 1626, he returned to Rome and was imprisoned again, this time by the Holy Office (Inquisition). He finally fled Italy in 1634 and settled in Paris, where he had the support of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu.

His La città del sole, inspired by Plato's Republic, was first published in Frankfurt in 1623 in a Latin version, Civitas Solis. The books describes an ideal world in which religion, science, and occult knowledge are the moral, intellectual, and spiritual guides. In the City of the Sun the ‘Solarians’ regulate their lives by astrological principles; hermetic influences are also identifiable among them, and they admire Copernicus and reject Aristotle. All things are shared in a kind of communist state, though it is ruled by a moral and intellectual elite who are able to interpret God's design for the world (see also Thomas More and Francis Bacon).

Campanella also wrote an Apologia pro Galileo/Defence of Galileo (1622) and De Sensu Rerum et Magia/On the Sense in Things and on Magic (1620), both of which had also to be published by his disciple Tobias Adami in Frankfurt.

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