We came across some of the most famous characters of the 16th and 17th Century and we decided to interview them in order to know something more about their life and career.
Here you can find what Elizabeth I, Mary Stuart, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Philip II, Oliver Cromwell, Galileo Galilei and a leveller told us.
Elizabeth I was born in September 7th 1533. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Although she wasn’t the first in line of succession, she became the queen of England in 1558, and led the country for 45 years. She was the last of the five monarchs of the Tudor Dinasty. She was also known as The Virgin Queen and her reign is considered the Golden Age of England.
In 2019 Elizabeth comes back to her beloved London to see the changes of the country she governed 461 years ago. In this way she meets her namesake, Queen Elizabeth II.
E1: Excuse me, I beg your pardon, may you be so kind to tell me where I am? And, above all, what year is this?
E2: But.. who are you? And, above all, what are you doing here?
E1: First of all, you have to call me “Your Majesty” and pay respect, you are talking with Queen Elizabeth I herself… or rather, her ghost.
E2: You are crazy! If you think that I’m going to trust the words of a stranger dressed in a ridiculous way walking around in the yard of my palace, you are absolutely wrong.
I’m an old lady, yes, but not a fool. Liar!
E1: Believe what you want, but you haven’t answered me yet, so disrespectful, do I have to repeat it again? I’m the queen of England!
E2: Well my dear, I am the queen here, not you!
E1: Wonderful! What a relief, I was looking for you! Even if you don’t match my expectations….
E2: I am probably going crazy, I have hallucinations. I had to listen to Philip and take those medicines for the headache..
E1: …I don’t know, there’s something wrong with you, maybe your inappropriate dress, maybe your attitude…
E2: Me? Did you look yourself in the mirror? I’m an icon of elegance whole wide.
E1: Oh well, times have really changed. This is the reason why I’m here. I would like to see how England has changed and if you are still struggling with my same problems. Who better than you can help me?
For example, I really would like to know if Spain has created other problems, even after the Treaty of London. You know, they promised that they wouldn’t have tried anymore to impose catholicism in my reign.
E2: Spain? No, since I became the queen, I have never had problems with this nation, at least not religious problems at all.
E1: Actually religion was just a pretext to try to take over my territory, do you think Philip II minded about what religion my subjects professed?
I’m glad to know that they didn’t bother English people anymore, it was surely because of the humiliating defeat that they suffered that time. Have you ever heard about it? They had organized the most powerful fleet ever existed, they even called it the “Invincible Armada”, so presumptuous. But no one can defeat the powerful Queen of England. They haven’t forgot that, I bet… Ridiculous Armada.
E2: Of course I have heard about this story. I know you won, but not only thanks to your army, luck played an important role..
E1: I won! Regardless of the storm. I would have won anyway.
E2: Alright, if you say so… However may I ask you why you have never wanted to get married?
E1: So I’m still known as the Virgin Queen! I will answer you just like I used to answer to my suitors: “England is my husband”
E2: I admire your devotion to the state.
E1: I was willing to do everything I could to hold on to my power. I have always thought men are too stupid to rule a reign. But a lot of people didn’t agree with me: they wanted to replace me and deprive me of my power, and not only men. Just an example. My “friend” and cousin Mary Stuart, the queen of Scotland. I had to welcome her in England and protect her, because of… you know.. the scandal..
E2: No, I don’t, please tell me about it. I love gossip, as long as it doesn’t concern me, of course.
E1: Well, rumor had it that she had murdered her own husband. But she was also unable to rule: during her reign there had been many popular uprisings because of the terrible living condition of many of her subjects; she had to abdicate because of this and because the Calvinists had taken the power in a reign she wanted to be catholic. However, I helped her and you know how she returned me the favor? Organizing conspiracies against me for twenty years!
E2: And what did you do when you found out?
E1: Easy: beheaded.
E2: Not a lovely way to solve problems, but seems to be very successful. Unfortunately I can’t adopt this approach.
E1: Why not? You are the Queen, you can do whatever you want, with the support of the parliament, yes, yes, of course.
E2: Well, it’s not that easy anymore. Time has changed, as you said before. Today my power is more a sort of “symbol”, just conventional.
E1: What about the catholics? They, just like the others, tried to steal the crown from me. Pope Pio V himself excommunicated me, by declaring me deposed from my duty. He had always tried to impose me what to do, but who cares about Pope Pio V? Who is Pope Pio V? If you repeat it many times you will realize that even the name is ridiculous. So I increased the anti-catholics laws.
E2: Luckily I don’t have this kind of problems anymore, the Pope would never dare to excommunicate me. Religion and politics are two separate things.
E1: Everything is easier now! Should have lived in this era. What year you said it is?
E2: I still haven’t said it. It’s 2019
E1: Oh my God! So many years have passed by! Do the enclosures still exist?
E1: E-n-c-l-o-s-u-r-e-s. I was here to ask questions but I guess I’ll have to explain you everything. This process consist in feuding the land, because the fields before were open. Enclosures accelerated the process of modernization of the agriculture in England and gave rise to the great agricultural holdings. I encouraged this a lot. Unfortunately this phenomenon had also negative sides: masses of farmers, that used to work in these lands have been expelled from the countryside and forced to move to the city. The parlous state of these people increased the number of beggars, vagrants and criminals.
E2: How could it be the “Golden Age” of England if the situation of your people was so terrible?
E1: Oh but England was glorious anyway. Listen: I bet it will never be as flourishing and thriving as at that time, when I ruled it! With fancy buildings, in particular in the city of London, prestigious universities, important artists and literary greats, does the name Shakespeare mean something to you?
E2: Actually London today is one of the most important cities in the world for its history, his culture, the thriving economy, the multiethnic population.
E1: Then, I bet your reign won’t be as long-lived as mine, I ruled for 45 years, no monarch before me had died at the age of 69. It’s a record.
E2: You’re wrong again darling. I’ve been ruling the country for 66 years, and talking about records… I’m 92, what do you think about that?!
E1: You really don’t like to lose, don’t you?
E2: You are right. But if you’re here to decide which Elizabeth is the better one, we probably won’t come to a conclusion.
E1: You are right, too. We both are too stubborn, but also strong and determined, two women who lead a country, I’m proud of this. Now I really have to go, thank you for the information…you didn’t tell me a lot but I guess I’ll have to settle for it. Goodbye darling!
E2: Goodbye...This headache is really driving me crazy!
Mary Stuart, also known as Mary Stuart or Queen Mary, is perhaps the best known figure in Scotland’s history. She was the queen of Scotland from December 1542 until July 1567. She became queen consort in France before returning to Scotland. Forced to abdicate by Scottish nobles in 1567, Mary sought the protection of England's Queen Elizabeth I, who instead had her arrested. Mary spent the remainder of her life in captivity until her 1587 execution.
This dialogue is set in 2019 between Mary Stuart and Ellen DeGeneres, a famous host of a tv show called ‘The Ellen Show’. In this programme she interviews celebrities, and today is Mary’s turn. She is going to talk about her troubled life, seen from her point of view.
E: Hello everybody and welcome to a new episode of The Ellen Show. Today we have a very special guest who came back to life from the sixteenth century just for us. It wasn't simple to get her here, because her life wasn't easy at all: the continuous fight with her cousin Elizabeth I, religious problems in Scotland, her kingdom, and all her unlucky marriages… ladies and gentlemen, a big applause for Mary queen of Scots!
M: Hi Ellen, thanks for having me! Unfortunately yes, you are totally right. Since I was born I have had a tough life, but I think that one of the hardest parts was the fight with my cousin Elizabeth. First of all we believed in opposite religions: she was anglican and I believed in the catholic religion. The Catholic Church didn’t see her power as legitimate because she was born from the illegal marriage between Henry VIII and Anne Bolene, and since I was the next in line for the throne of England, she tried to do everything to keep me away from “her” throne.
E: Yes, I can imagine! I also know that there has always been like a beauty contest between you two, even though you are the one known for your beauty (I hope she's not watching) while she is known for her intelligence. But let’s talk about your first husband now: the king of France Francis II.
M: Oh yes. Our marriage was arranged by Henry II, who was the father of Francis, and on 24th April 1558 we got married. He was the Dauphin and he was only fourteen so he was very immature. He died when he was sixteen so I became a widow at the age of eighteen.
E: Oh dear, what a shock! And then your cousin Elizabeth offered you a new husband: the protestant Robert Dudley, right?
M: Yes it’s right: she did it in order to fix the wounds of the reformation, because she thought that, if I had married a protestant man, Scottish people wouldn’t have seen my power and my religion as a menace anymore. But I refused him, because he was my cousin’s favourite and probably they had an extramarital relationship. And last but not least, I have absolutely never had the intention to do what my lovely cousin told me to do.
E:You have always had such a strong and determined personality. But I know he was just your third husband, so who was the next one?
M: Then I got married again with the catholic Henry Stuart, better known as Lord Darnley. He was the father of my child James, my heir . We got married on 25th July 1565, but my cousin Elizabeth and the other anglicans were against our marriage, because they were convinced that we wanted to turn Scotland into a catholic country.
E: Wow, scottish people are always so suspicious! And what happened then?
M: Soon I found out that he was a drunk and he couldn't do any of the things a king is supposed to do, so I relied on my secretary, Davide Rizzio, an italian catholic. I was in desperate need of help to rule Scotland, so, I know it doesn't honor me, but he soon became my lover. Unfortunately he was killed by the plot between scottish anglicans and Darnley.
E: Oh my God, this story is so dramatic I’m gonna tear up.
M: And the best is yet to come. Later I met Bothwell, who helped me to get rid of Darnley in a not really nice way. He soon took his place but for doing that he abused of me so I was kinda forced to marry him.
M: (cries) Then there was a rebellion from the people who supported Darnley and I had to face them alone, and I made an appearance with my breast out because I was so tired of everything I had already gone through.
Obviously I had to give up the throne because it wasn't appropriate for a queen.
E: It keeps getting worse and worse!
M: It's so hard for me to talk about my past experiences, you can’t even imagine!
I was imprisoned but with my sophisticate beauty I seduced the jailer and appealed to Elizabeth.
She was so nice and sweet to imprison me for nineteen years.
E: What an awful person! She could have at least shown some humanity!
M: Well, at a certain point she was so afraid of me that she wanted to help me to regain my throne, just because she didn't want me to get on hers.
So I had my fifth marriage with Howard, who was a conforming protestant to solve the problems of Scotland and to reestablish a protestant faith.
E: I have this feeling that something bad is going to happen again.
M: You are right Ellen, a rebellion crushed because catholic aristocratic families didn't want the anglican Tudors to decide their religion.
I was kept away from Scotland and from cities, forced to live in the countryside. One day they let me out for a walk but it was a trap! Guards were waiting for me to arrest me.
E: What?! Again?!
M: Someone found letters in which I was planning a plot against Elizabeth to take her throne, so she understood that I was responsable and she put her signature for beheading me.
E: I'm shocked. It was the most intense episode we've ever had. It is true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
M: Yeah, but sometimes it actually kills you and makes you lose your head. Literally.
Henry VIII was born in Greenwich, in 1491 and was the second King of the Tudor’s Dynasty ; when he was only 18 years old he took the throne, because of his father’s death. He handled with the incurrence of the gentry; he was the founder of Anglican church, so the one who was responsible for the schism with the Catholic church of Rome.
It’s the 5th January 2019 and we are in London, more specifically in Covent Garden, over a nice dish of Fish and Chips. Taking advantage of the Christmas holidays we decided to interview Henry VIII, by exploiting the school's proposal of interviewing a famous person. Many of our mates dealt with interviewing modern actors and singers, on the other hand we were tired of the usual interviews and decided to interview in an alternative way, by meeting the King Henry VIII, a man with a glorious past and remembered by everyone.
US:“Good morning King Henry, we are Alice, Chiara and Francesca, students from Copernico High school, can we ask you some questions about your past?”
HENRY VIII:“Sure, I would be very grateful!”
US:“ Everyone knows you because you wanted to be the chief of the English church with the act of Supremacy in 1534 and in this way you have started the schism with the church of Rome, would you like to tell us something more?”
HENRY VIII:“Exactly, but not everybody agreed with me, therefore they decided not to accept me as the supreme chief of the church. Those people paid the piper and came to a bad end.”
US:“Really? Excuse us for our persistence but we are very curious, can you give us some examples?”
HENRY VIII:“There is a reason why I claim this, one of the most famous example is Thomas More. He was accused of betrayal and imprisoned, then he was condemned to death and we decided to hang his head on the London’s bridge, as a warning for the other possible protesters.”
US:“Incredible! Let’s move on to another topic, everyone says that you have been a tall, blond-haired, athletic man, known as the most handsome prince of the Christianity. And we also know that you liked culture and music and you spoke many languages.” HENRY VIII:“Yes everything is true, but while I was growing up I had some physical and psychological problems and unfortunately no one could solve it. In addition to this, there is a piece missing, as you can understand from my love life I liked a lot of women because I got bored very often.”
US:“Is this the reason why you had all those wifes?” HENRY VIII:“That’s right but I have to tell you the truth, actually I haven’t loved all them at all, because some weddings were made for financial and political interests. For example the wedding with Catherine of Aragon was made to confirm the covenant between England and Spain. Previously she had been married with my brother, Arthur, who died early” US:“What kind of relationship did you have with her?“
HENRY VIII:“She was a beautiful woman, she had long, curly blond hair, green eyes and pale skin, but she was obsessed by monkeys and she had them as pets. Moreover we had a different relation and she has never gave me the male heir that I wanted. Up to that point we had just a daughter Lady Mary, therefore I wanted to divorce and I started hanging out with Anne Boleyn, who was the queen’s court lady.“
US:“ How did you divorce Anne Boleyn?”
HENRY VIII:”Cardinal Wolsey declared our marriage illegitimate, because Anne was married with my brother.”
US:”Why wasn’t Anne well considered?“
HENRY VIII:“My courtiers didn’t like her very much because she didn’t give a male heir, that’s why she was condemned in 1536 for witchcraft and for betrayal too. Then I decided to marry Jane, one of Anne’s companion, because everyone thought that she was fertile, in fact she gave me a child: Edward, but after his baptism, she died.“
US:“Were you grieving for her?”
HENRY VIII:“Yes but not very much because life is too short to suffer every time you lose something and that explains why I married Anne Cleves. My aim was to inherit her reign, because Edward didn’t have good wealth and was going to die, but we weren’t married for a long time.“
US:“And then what happened? Did you get married another time?”
HENRY VIII:“Obviously, I married Catherine Howard, the most important papist exponent nephew in England, this marriage was practical for keeping link to pope’s supporters. At the end she was also condemned and accused of extramarital affairs”
US:”Up to now we can count five wifes…can you tell us other news please?”
HENRY VIII:” Well there’s not much to know about me, before dying I married Catherine Parr. She was very intelligent but she had a protestant faith, backwards I was very close to Catholicism. Catherine played a very important role in my life, thanks to her I joined together to my daughters Mary and Elisabeth, because many years before I had said that they were illegitimate. After this, they were considered again in the line of succession.“
US:”What about your private life? Someone has found a letter of one of your six wifes, Anne Boleyn, who said that she wasn’t really satisfied with you in the marriage bed.”
HENRY VIII:”Ehm … they said this, but it isn’t really truthful.”
US:“Well actually it isn’t just a funnel cake, because we have found that it could be the result of brain traumas, caused by a fall during one of your favourite hobbies, the medieval carousel. These were very dangerous and you fell a lot of times from the horse, once you passed out. Some people thinks that this is the reason of your sharp personality changing which made you behave as a ruthless tyrant and not more as a good king.”
HENRY VIII:“I don’t know what can I say, except that it has been one of the worst period of my life, because I got depressed until I decided to lock myself in Hampton Court Palace, isolated but in peace with myself.”
US:“Thank you very much Henry you have been very kind and available with us for this interview!”
HENRY VIII:“You’re welcome, it was a pleasure, goodbye and see you soon my little girls!!”
Edward VI Tudor was born in 1537 in Hampton Court. He was the King of England and Ireland and he was crowned at the age of nine (1546). He was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. He was the first English monarch to be raised as a protestant. During his reign the protestantism was established for the first time in England, with reforms that included the abolition of clerical celibacy and the mass, and the imposition of compulsory services in english. In February 1553, Edward died because of illness at the age of 15.
The interview takes place at Hampton Court in 1550. The interviewer is Pope Francesco.
P : Good morning Her majesty, may I have your attention please?
E : Of course, I always listen to my servants… So, tell me what you want…
P : I’m pretty sure you don’t know me yet… I’m not a servant, my name is Jorge, and in the future I’ll be better known as Pope Francesco.
E : In the future? I don’t think I understood what you said…
P : I’m a man from 2019, and I came back to your age to know you better…
E : I’m not totally clear, but I think I got it. So what do you want to know?
P : I’d know something about your life… For example, what are your thoughts about becoming a king at 9? You must have been scared...
E : I guess I don’t have any opinion about it because I was born to become the king of England, and I was educated to rule my country.
P : So, weren’t you scared of having this important role? You were just a kid!
E : No, I wasn’t. Before or after, I was supposed to rule England, so I was just ready to do it.
P : I understand. And who takes care of international business activities?
E : There are people, who are payed to help me but I mainly take care of it. I learnt Latin at the age of 9 and I have learnt Greek and German this year, so I don’t have any language problems.
P : Wow, you’re a little brilliant king! What can you tell me about the relationship between you and your father?
E : My father loved me a lot but he didn’t hesitate to use me as a weapon because he wanted to establish the peace between the reign of England and Scotland.
P : What? What did he do ?
E : He promised me in marriage with Mary Stuart when I was only 6 years old and she was 6 months old. This treaty has been called “Treaty of Greenwich” but it has been called off by the reign of Scotland because the mother of Mary Stuart didn’t agree.
P : As I said before, I’m the head of catholic church in 2019, thus I’d like to know if you did something for the church of England.
E : Yes, I did. Last year I made the Protestantism the first and the most important religion of England. By the way, I have also promulgated the “Book of Common Prayer”, which became the base of Anglican Church.
P : So, do you feel important for the English state?
E : Of course, I’m the most important man in the whole world! How did you even think to ask me that?! GET OUT OF MY CASTLE RIGHT NOW, AND NEVER COME BACK!
P : I’m sorry if I bothered you, I’ll go back to my age and I won’t disturb you anymore…
King Philip II of Spain, also known as Philip the Prudent, ruled one of the world's largest empires. His reign as Spain's king began the Golden Age, a period of great cultural growth in literature, music and the visual arts. He was also the King of England through his marriage to Mary Tudor for four years. The Philippines, a former Spanish colony, are named after him.
Philip II, after about four centuries, comes back to his homeland. He understands that times have changed, so he asks for some explications to a professor of history, that the king met in front of a university in Spain. The two men start to speak.
Philip II: (…) And my horses? Where are my servants? My crown!?
Professor: What crown?! Who are you?
Philip II: I am Philip II of Spain, the winner of the Battle of Lepanto of 1571, against the Ottomans!
Professor: Ahahah! So you would be the fool who made his reign going bankrupt, spending all the money in that useless battles that you lost?
Philip II: My soldiers have always fighted with value, one beating in a battle doesn’t mean that we have lost the war. And the battle against England, that we unfortunately lost… Well, that case was only a question of bad weather. We will defeat England, and we have also the Pope on our side.
Professor: Look around you, things have changed, you aren’t the king of Spain anymore. Now the throne is owned by Philip VI, and all the countries that you want to beat, now are under other international powers.
Philip II: You lie! It’s impossible that the poor Italy now is an international power. It has always been a fragmented country and too weak to rebel against me: for these reasons it’s under my domain since years.
Professor: My dear “King”, Italy is united since ages. It’s not an international power as England or Holland, but it knows its stuff.
Philip II: But Venice is an independent republic!
Professor: Not anymore now, now it is part of Italy. You know, the unification of Italy has occurred in 1861.
Philip II: In 1861?? What year are we?
Professor: We are in 2019 and you can‘t change things now!!!
Philip II: So why am I here? What can I be useful for?
Professor: As you can’t change history, it would be useful to understand it better and you can help us.
Philip II: Are you so curious to have questions?
Professor: For example.. it would be interesting to listen the history of the battle against Netherlands, looking at it from a different point of view.
Philip II: From when I tried to introduce inquisition in Netherland, they reacted, declaring indipendence. So they could maintain Calvinist religion. I thought to be smarter than them, and I decided to give them tolerance, so to have time to organise my army.
Professor: And how did it finish?
Philip II: I declared war, believing me to be enough strong to beat enemy attacks , but them, in that time that I gave, built a pirate-fleet even more powerful than mine, dealing the war and conducting Spain to bankrupt.
Professor: And you tried to get more rich ant other time, didn’t you?
Philip II: Yes, I plundered Anversa’s harbour, but that made only Amsterdam being more and more powerful.
Professor: But as you noticed to have economic problems and also some with the managing of the army, why did you continue fighting, organising a spedition against England, that was even stronger?
Philip II: I couldn’t accept a religion different from Catholicism, I was ready to risk, to maintain it the only legal religion, moreover these problems weren’t as evident as you see them today. So I tried with war against England, but it had a negative result for me and in 1588 English fleet sank my Armada in the Canal of Manica(?).
Professor: Thank you for all this information, it’s wonderful to listen the true history by a such great man like you! I was thinking that maybe can be a nice idea if you’ll make a lesson in our university. Don’t you think so?
Philip II: Why not? I can’t do anything useful if not teach other people…
Professor: Wonderful! Thank you so much.
Philip II: You’re welcome. Maybe teaching my history to nowadays people, they could not do anymore my mistakes. It would be useful for the future.
Professor: Of course! Thank you.
Philip II: Thank you.
Oliver Cromwell, founder of the cavalry unit ‘Iron Side’, button nucleus of the New Model Army, after the victory in the battle of Marston Moor has become the most influential and much-talked about man of the moment. The revolt, which he leads, is having outcomes, that were unexpected at the beginning, and the king Charles I has to take remedial action, if he wants to save his government and win the war against the parliamentarians, which has been going on for two years. The civil war burst in 1642, because Charles, who needed money to finance the battle in Scotland, convened the parliament after many years. This is a crucial moment of the conflict and for this reason we decided to ask some questions to the leader. As follows you can find the exclusive interview, that he granted us.
I: First of all, good morning Mr. Cromwell and thank you very much for having granted us this exclusive interview.
O: It's a pleasure for me to be here and I'm ready to answer all your questions.
I: So let's start with the battle of Marston Moor, did you expect to have such a success against the troops of the King?
O: Yes, I expected that because we have more soldiers than the King's army and in addition to this, ours are well motivated and pursue the same target.
I: What is this target? And which secrets do you use in order to make your army so close-knit?
O: “Round-heads” are so attached to each other also because of the religious upbringing that they received and in this way they are able to rout the troops of the king, that on the contrary are not su close-knit. It is fundamental that the soldiers know what their purpose is , or they’ll fight without the needed determination.
I: This is a revolt without precedents in england, what has driven so many people to rebel to the royal authority?
O: In fact, the power has been administered by rulers badly for years, mostly over the parliament, which is considered only when there is a need of money in order to finance wars.
I: Do you refer to Charles I?
O: Exactly, he's not been able to administer the country neither on the political aspects nor on the religious ones. William Loud, archbishop of Canterbury who was charged by Carl, wanted to impose the “book of Common Prayer” also in scotland where it broke out a revolt. Charles needed instantly money and so he called the parliament after many years. A King can’t behave in this way with such an important council; the civil war was unavoidable. Moreover the Stuarts believe that England is their own property. It’ time for this domain to fall and for the rise of a new government able to give voice to those who are not satisfied by the current one.
I: Coming back to the battle, do you believe that the royals will be able to recover after this loss?
O: No, now it’s just a matter of time; the king is losing the support of the few nobles that are still by his side. For this reason he’ll have to surrender soon.
I: If the king loses this war as many hypothesize, what will be the consequences for him? Will you seek an agreement with the King or will he be dismissed?
O: A revolt can not be concluded with a simple agreement, we have fought too hard to change things. When we’ll rise to power, we will put the current ruler on trial and he will receive the punishment he deserves.
I: In history we have rarely seen kings tried and condemned, it would be something resounding and unprecedented.
O: But I do not find it strange. Because if a subject who commits a crime is punished, can not the same thing happen to a sovereign who governs unjustly? Carlo has not satisfied anyone in these years and therefore he deserves to be punished.
I: What are you going to do when you complete your plan and what kind of government are you going to set up in our kingdom?
O: For the moment we are focused on the war and we want to defeat definitely the enemy troops, but surely we will change many things compared to the government of Charles, especially in the management of power. It will be essential for the people to have total trust in the sovereign.
I: One last question: What role will you play in the new government? Will you take the reins of the state?
O: Well, now many people trust me and believe in what I'm doing, so I'd like to drive England. My army sees me as a model to follow and a point of reference, they would be happy if I were the one to get on the throne.
I: And with this question we conclude the interview, thank you again for agreeing to talk with us.
O: It was a pleasure for me.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, mathematician, physicist, philosopher and professor who made pioneering observations of nature with long-lasting implications for the study of physics. He also constructed a telescope and supported the Copernican theory, which supports a sun-centered solar system. Galileo's contribution to our understanding of the universe was significant not only in his discoveries, but in the methods he developed and the use of mathematics to prove them. He played a major role in the scientific revolution and earned the moniker "The Father of Modern Science."
Today we are on the top of the Pisa Tower and we have just met the soul of the old famous scientist Galileo Galilei.
Interviewer: So, it’s a pleasure to meet you Galileo, how are you?
Galileo: Hi, it has been years since my death, but I’m still frisky!
I: Why are you here?
G: Well, I love this place, it reminds me all the experiments I did when I was alive.
I: Can you give me an example of those?
G: Of course, one morning I was wondering around the Cathedral of the city when I saw an amazing chandelier and I was inspired to study the pendulum motion. At the end I managed to discover its isochrony: it says that the swing of pendulums of equal length is constant, whatever the extent of the swing is.
I: Wow, it’s amazing. You have really been one of the best scientists of all time! But, do you know that one of your famous theories, the one concerning the tides, was found to be wrong?
G: Yes, I’ve heard something about it but I thought it was a fake news.
I: No, it’s true. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull acted on the earth by the moon.
G: It seems a too magical thesis… what a gullible generation!
I: I can assure you that it’s real, but Galileo, don’t be disappointed, your scientific method is still used today by all the scientists.
G: How nice, I’m really glad!
I: For all our listeners, this method is based on making assumptions that have to be verified by experiments, in order to find out general laws.
G: What a good explanation!
I: Thank you. Among all your discoveries, which is your favourite?
G: Undoubtedly the identification of the moons of Jupiter.
I: So when you used your telescope!
G: Yes, well not my telescope, I haven’t invented it. Hans Lippershey, a German optician naturalized Dutch, gave it to me and I’ve just improved it, in order to adapt it to my experiments.
I: Wow, besides all your qualities, you are also humble.
G: But now let’s stop talking about science… rather, one day, all of a sudden, I noticed that one of my fingers was disappeared. Do you know why?
I: Yes, I can explain it: a century after your death, when your corpse was moved for a new burial, an admiral cut it off, and now it is in a museum in Florence and points at Rome.
G: Ah, don’t tell me that, at the Pope. At least it’s the middle finger, ahahahaha. I hate Urban VIII, he ruined my life.
I: Yes I know, but in 1992 the Church recognized its mistake and apologized with you.
G: I will never forgive it, the abjuration of my doctrines twisted me into the sad person I became.
I: Oh I’m sorry. However I know that you haven’t always been so, in fact you liked creating riddles. One of them is particularly famous: to avoid that too many visitors annoyed you while you were studying, you usually posed them this puzzle, and only if they have solved it, they would have been let in in the room. They simply had to write something near a numerical sequence.
G: Do you know the solution?
I: Yes, I do and I think it’s really intriguing. Let’s give the sequence to our Italian audience, the first person who guesses will win two tickets for the Galileo Museum in Florence.
G: It will be very funny, the numbers are 5 10 2 9 8 4 6 7 3 1.
(the answer is in the footnote ).
I: One last question: everyone has always wondered why your name is so similar to your surname, can you explain us the reason why?
G: Sure, it’s because of a tradition in force at my time and in my region: the name of the first child had to remind the surname. I’ve always liked my name, so uncommon!
I: Thank you for being here, it was such a pleasure! Good night you all, so long.
solution: The visitor should have written: “The numbers are put in alphabetical order”. In the language of Galileo Galilei it is Cinque 5, Dieci 10, Due 2, Nove 9, Otto 8, Quattro 4, Sei 6, Sette 7, Tre 3, Uno 1
We had the honour to interview Galileo Galilei a few days ago, and a lot of interesting information arose. Here’s the text of the interview.
Martina: Good morning Mr. Galilei! To break the ice, I would like to start with an easy but very important question. We wanted to know how you discovered the isochrony of the pendolum and what the society thought about it.
Galilei: Oh that’s a good question, one of my favourite experiments... The dream of the aristotelians was to understand it! At first I noticed that the period of oscillation of a pendulum, which is basically a string with a weight at its end, didn’t depend on the size of the oscillation. To be sure that it was true, I put two people back to back, I gave them two identical pendulums and told them to make them swing from the different extent, and to shout when the pendulums arrived at the number of 100 oscillation. They shouted at the same time, and that was the validation of my theory: if you have two identical pendulums, it doesn’t matter from which size you make them start, the oscillation are identical. The society reacted well to my first experiments, until I started to have problems with the church.
Greta: Apart from the isochrony of the pendulum you have studied a lot of other interesting things. What can you tell us about them?
Galilei: I could talk about my studies for hours! In 1609 I generated the first spyglass, in Venice, basing it on the one generated by the Dutch. It’s very useful to spot enemies from far away. With it I observed several elements that were the perfect evidence that Aristotelian-Ptolemaic theories were totally wrong.
For example I observed Jupiter and noticed that around it revolved some moons, that I called “medicei planets”, because I dedicated them to the Medici’s family.
After that, I studied the moon’s stages and I discovered that its surface it’s rough, and it couldn’t be possible according to the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic model because it says that all the planets have to be perfect.
In another of my studies I observed the Milky Way and found out that it was composed by a lot of little stars, some far away and others more near.
At last I concerned about the sunspot activity, and I realised that the sunspots moved and that the sun turned around itself.
Greta: Since you are known especially for the experimental method, can you tell us something about it?
Galilei: Yes, of course. First of all it is divided into 7 stages: they are the phenomenon's observation, the hypothesis' formulation, the hypothesis' testing, the collection of informations, the processing of results and the publication of results.
It is based on experience and observation. Then follows the experiment that aims to validate or refuse the hypothesis, formulated previously by the scientist, which is useful to explain the mechanisms of a particular event. Therefore two cases are possible: in the first one, the greatest possible number of experiments is carried out, after that informations are collected and processed, and finally a theory is published, and it together with other theories will formulate a law. The theory speculates the cause of a phenomenon, instead the law describes a phenomenon that is regular. In the second case, the hypothesis is changed and exposed to new experiments.
The experimental method is considered a revolutionary way of progress respect to what was supported by Aristotle and other philosophers of ancient Greece, because they were convinced that you could know the nature without measuring or making experiments that would make the hypotheses formulated valid.
Martina: We know that while you wrote the letter to Kepler you are studying on your own a new physics, that's the mechanics understood as a theory of the lever. Can you then explain the principle of Inertia?
Galilei: To my students I explained it through an example.
You imagine a geometrically perfect sphere, leaning on a plane which is also perfect, you imagine to remove all the forces even the air and you observe the sphere, it is restless compared to you.
The question is: what strength do I have to apply to put this sphere in motion? The question is a force smaller than the smallest of the forces will be enough to set it in motion and this will move at infinity with constant speed.
The scene is set in heaven, in 2030. Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth II are having a cup of tea and a curious man recognises the great playwright. L: Leveller Q.E: Queen Elizabeth S: Shakespeare E: Einstein
L: Oh wow! You are William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright of all time!
S: Yes, I am. Thank you very much! But… who are you?
L: My name is John Lilburne and I lived in the England of 17th century.
Q.E: In 17th century there was the English revolution. It’s a very important age for us.
L: Are you English too, madame?
Q.E: I was the queen of U.K until 2020
L: Oh my god! It’s an honour to meet you, Majesty.
E: It’s very interesting. Really, did you live live during the English Revolution? Really charming age! But who were you? Did you take part of the revolution or were you only a simple citizen?
L: Well, actually I was one of the protagonists. I was the leader of a political movement, called Levellers. I fought a lot for the rights of the English people.
S: Fascinating! Can you explain us more about this political movement?
L: Well, briefly, our targets were the establishment of the religious tolerance and the equality before the law.
Q.E: So you are like a digger, you wanted all the people at the same level.
L: Oh no Majesty, we were totally different from the diggers. For example, they were in favour of common property and we were not, except of common agreement of the property owners. Furthermore a lot of them were pacifist and weren't so. A lot of us died fighting for our country rights.
S: So were you also part of an army?
L: Yes of course! The new model army!
E: Wow, the famous new model army! People said that it was a fantastic army, characterised by a special determination.
L: Precisely! We knew what we were fighting for. We lived that war with a special motivation, namely a religious motivation and we believed in our beliefs until death. Also because there were no social differences, everyone at the same level.
Q.E: Really interesting Sir Lilburne. Would you like to sit with us and to have a cup of tea?
E: Great idea, come with us.
L: Oh my god, it’s an honour to stay with you!