century much of our modern civilization emerged.
It was a time of
lucrative colonial expansions by European countries such as Spain, Portugal,
the Netherlands, France and Britain. This brought riches and new
A revolution occurred
in science. Chemistry developed from medieval alchemy, and astronomy from
superstitious astrology. Great scientists created new technology:
Galileo Galilei (telescope, etc.) , Toricelli
(barometer), Blaise Pascal (adding machine), Isaac Newton (spectometer), Anton
van Leeuwenhoek (microscope), Christian Huygens (clocks) and so on.
It led to the first
conflicts between the Church and science. Well known is Galileo's condemnation
for proving the earth turns round the sun.
(1542-1621) played a major role in this.
More amusing is the
story that Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) was urged to condemn coffee as
Satanic, mainly because it was the favourite drink of Muslims. Fortunately he
refused to do so. But Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) issued a bull in 1624 that
made smoking tobacco punishable by excommunication. Pope Benedict XIII later
repealed the ban.
Staying with Urban
VIII, he fought wars to enlarge the Papal States. He fortified Castel Sant'
Angelo as a personal stronghold. He lived in great luxury and practised
nepotism on a grand scale: various members of his family were enormously
enriched by him, so that it seemed to contemporaries as if were establishing a
Barberini dynasty. Among the cardinals he created were his brother Antonio
Marcello Barberini and his nephews Antonio and Francesco Barberini. It was this
Cardinal Francesco who acquired in 1650 the 8th-century-old manuscript (Barberini
gr 336) which contains a copy of the ancient ordination rite for women