Riffing on Books and Life – Arts & Sciences Literary Blog by interactive new media author & artist Terry Bailey

5Aug/18

16th Century Needed a #MeToo Movement, Too

Pictured is Galileo. We learned in history class how he was banished for his heretical scientific discoveries. What we did not learn was that other men, and women, were executed for such beliefs. What we did not learn was that because he was a devout Catholic, with important Church ties, he only received house arrest, and that his house arrest was the ability to live out his life on his estate, not in some hovel.

What we did not learn was that Galileo was a married man with three children who abandoned his wife and children when he began to achieve scientific prominence.

What we did not learn was that Galileo managed to obtain an imperial pension for his abandoned son so that the son was able to live a pretty normal life. What we did not learn was that Galileo wound up having his two daughters committed to a convent at ages 11 and 12. What we did not learn was that the younger daughter had a nervous breakdown as soon as she was banished to the convent, from which she never recovered. What we did not learn was that the elder daughter spent her life writing letters to her father, begging him to get permission for her to leave the convent just to pay him a visit - something he never did for her.

What we did not learn was whatever happened to his wife.

The abuse and subjugation of women takes many forms and has done so since year one. Literally.

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