List Of Contents | Contents of The City of the Sun, by Tommaso Campanells
< < Previous Page    

we commonly call a lawsuit.  But the accusation and witnesses
are produced in the presence of the judge and Power; the ac-
cused person makes his defence, and he is immediately acquit-
ted or condemned by the judge; and if he appeals to the trium-
virate, on the following day he is acquitted or condemned.  On
the third day he is dismissed through the mercy and clemency
of Hoh, or receives the inviolable rigor of his sentence.  An
accused person is reconciled to his accuser and to his witnesses,
as it were, with the medicine of his complaint, that is, with em-
bracing and kissing.

   No one is killed or stoned unless by the hands of the people,
the accuser and the witnesses beginning first.  For they have
no executioners and lictors, lest the State should sink into ruin.
The choice of death is given to the rest of the people, who en-
close the lifeless remains in little bags and burn them by the
application of fire, while exhorters are present for the purpose
of advising concerning a good death.  Nevertheless, the whole
nation laments and beseeches God that his anger may be ap-
peased, being in grief that it should, as it were, have to cut off
a rotten member of the State.  Certain officers talk to and con-
vince the accused man by means of arguments until he him-
self acquiesces in the sentence of death passed upon him, or else
he does not die.  But if a crime has been committed against
the liberty of the republic, or against God, or against the su-
preme magistrates, there is immediate censure without pity.
These only are punished with death.  He who is about to
die is compelled to state in the presence of the people and with
religious scrupulousness the reasons for which he does not de-
serve death, and also the sins of the others who ought to die
instead of him, and further the mistakes of the magistrates.
If, moreover, it should seem right to the person thus asserting,
he must say why the accused ones are deserving of less punish-
ment than he.  And if by his arguments he gains the victory he
is sent into exile, and appeases the State by means of prayers
and sacrifices and good life ensuing.  They do not torture those
named by the accused person, but they warn them.  Sins of
frailty and ignorance are punished only with blaming, and with
compulsory continuation as learners under the law and disci-
pline of those sciences or arts against which they have sinned.
And all these things they have mutually among themselves,
since they seem to be in very truth members of the same body,
and one of another.

   This further I would have you know, that if a transgressor,
without waiting to be accused, goes of his own accord before
a magistrate, accusing himself and seeking to make amends,
that one is liberated from the punishment of a secret crime, and
since he has not been accused of such a crime, his punishment
is changed into another.  They take special care that no one
should invent slander, and if this should happen they meet the
offence with the punishment of retaliation.  Since they always
walk about and work in crowds, five witnesses are required for
the conviction of a transgressor.  If the case is otherwise, after
having threatened him, he is released after he has sworn an oath
as the warrant of good conduct.  Or if he is accused a second
or third time, his increased punishment rests on the testimony
of three or two witnesses.  They have but few laws, and these
short and plain, and written upon a flat table and hanging to
the doors of the temple, that is between the columns.  And on
single columns can be seen the essences of things described in
the very terse style of Metaphysic -- viz., the essences of God, of
the angels, of the world, of the stars, of man, of fate, of virtue, all
done with great wisdom.  The definitions of all the virtues are
also delineated here, and here is the tribunal, where the judges
of all the virtues have their seat.  The definition of a certain
virtue is written under that column where the judges for the
aforesaid virtue sit, and when a judge gives judgment he sits
and speaks thus:  O son, thou hast sinned against this sacred
definition of beneficence, or of magnanimity, or of another vir-
tue, as the case may be.  And after discussion the judge legally
condemns him to the punishment for the crime of which he is
accused -- viz., for injury, for despondency, for pride, for in-
gratitude, for sloth, etc.  But the sentences are certain and true
correctives, savoring more of clemency than of actual punish-

G.M.  Now you ought to tell me about their priests, their
sacrifices, their religion, and their belief.

Capt.  The chief priest is Hoh, and it is the duty of all the
superior magistrates to pardon sins.  Therefore the whole
State by secret confession, which we also use, tell their sins to
the magistrates, who at once purge their souls and teach those
that are inimical to the people.  Then the sacred magistrates
themselves confess their own sinfulness to the three supreme
chiefs, and together they confess the faults of one another,
though no special one is named, and they confess especially the
heavier faults and those harmful to the State.  At length the
triumvirs confess their sinfulness to Hoh himself, who forth-
with recognizes the kinds of sins that are harmful to the State,
and succors with timely remedies.  Then he offers sacrifices
and prayers to God.  And before this he confesses the sins of
the whole people, in the presence of God, and publicly in the
temple, above the altar, as often as it had been necessary that
the fault should be corrected.  Nevertheless, no transgressor
is spoken of by his name.  In this manner he absolves the peo-
ple by advising them that they should beware of sins of the
aforesaid kind.  Afterward he offers sacrifice to God, that he
should pardon the State and absolve it of its sins, and to teach
and defend it.  Once in every year the chief priests of each
separate subordinate State confess their sins in the presence
of Hoh.  Thus he is not ignorant of the wrongdoings of the
provinces, and forthwith he removes them with all human and
heavenly remedies.

   Sacrifice is conducted after the following manner: Hoh
asks the people which one among them wishes to give himself
as a sacrifice to God for the sake of his fellows.  He is then
placed upon the fourth table, with ceremonies and the offering
up of prayers: the table is hung up in a wonderful manner by
means of four ropes passing through four cords attached to
firm pulley-blocks in the small dome of the temple.  This done
they cry to the God of mercy, that he may accept the offering,
not of a beast as among the heathen, but of a human being.
Then Hoh orders the ropes to be drawn and the sacrifice is
pulled up above to the centre of the small dome, and there it
dedicates itself with the most fervent supplications.  Food is
given to it through a window by the priests, who live around
the dome, but it is allowed a very little to eat, until it has atoned
for the sins of the State.  There with prayer and fasting he
cries to the God of heaven that he might accept its willing offer-
ing.  And after twenty or thirty days, the anger of God being
appeased, the sacrifice becomes a priest, or sometimes, though
rarely, returns below by means of the outer way for the priests.
Ever after, this man is treated with great benevolence and much
honor, for the reason that he offered himself unto death for the
sake of his country.  But God does not require death.

   The priests above twenty-four years of age offer praises from
their places in the top of the temple.  This they do in the mid-
dle of the night, at noon, in the morning and in the evening, to
wit, four times a day they sing their chants in the presence of
God.  It is also their work to observe the stars and to note with
the astrolabe their motions and influences upon human things,
and to find out their powers.  Thus they know in what part of
the earth any change has been or will be, and at what time it has
taken place, and they send to find whether the matter be as they
have it.  They make a note of predictions, true and false, so
that they may be able from experience to predict most correctly.
The priests, moreover, determine the hours for breeding and
the days for sowing, reaping, and gathering the vintage, and
are, as it were, the ambassadors and intercessors and connection
between God and man.  And it is from among them mostly that
Hoh is elected.  They write very learned treatises and search
into the sciences.  Below they never descend, unless for their
dinner and supper, so that the essence of their heads do not
descend to the stomachs and liver.  Only very seldom, and that
as a cure for the ills of solitude, do they have converse with
women.  On certain days Hoh goes up to them and deliberates
with them concerning the matters which he has lately investi-
gated for the benefit of the State and all the nations of the

   In the temple beneath, one priest always stands near the altar
praying for the people, and at the end of every hour another
succeeds him, just as we are accustomed in solemn prayer to
change every fourth hour.  And this method of supplication
they call perpetual prayer.  After a meal they return thanks
to God.  Then they sing the deeds of the Christian, Jewish,
and Gentile heroes, and of those of all other nations, and this
is very delightful to them.  Forsooth, no one is envious of an-
other.  They sing a hymn to Love, one to Wisdom, and one
each to all the other virtues, and this they do under the direc-
tion of the ruler of each virtue.  Each one takes the woman he
loves most, and they dance for exercise with propriety and
stateliness under the peristyles.  The women wear their long
hair all twisted together and collected into one knot on the
crown of the head, but in rolling it they leave one curl.  The
men, however, have one curl only and the rest of their hair
around the head is shaven off.  Further, they wear a slight
covering, and above this a round hat a little larger than the size
of their head.  In the fields they use caps, but at home each one
wears a biretta, white, red, or another color according to his
trade or occupation.  Moreover, the magistrates use grander
and more imposing-looking coverings for the head.

   They hold great festivities when the sun enters the four car-
dinal points of the heavens, that is, when he enters Cancer, Li-
bra, Capricorn, and Aries.  On these occasions they have very
learned, splendid, and, as it were, comic performances.  They
celebrate also every full and every new moon with a festival,
as also they do the anniversaries of the founding of the city,
and of the days when they have won victories or done any other
great achievement.  The celebrations take place with the music
of female voices, with the noise of trumpets and drums, and the
firing of salutations.  The poets sing the praises of the most
renowned leaders and the victories.  Nevertheless, if any of
them should deceive even by disparaging a foreign hero, he is
punished.  No one can exercise the function of a poet who in-
vents that which is not true, and a license like this they think
to be a pest of our world, for the reason that it puts a premium
upon virtue and often assigns it to unworthy persons, either
from fear of flattery, or ambition, or avarice.

   For the praise of no one is a statue erected until after his
death; but while he is alive, who has found out new arts and very
useful secrets, or who has rendered great service to the State
either at home or on the battle-field, his name is written in the
book of heroes.  They do not bury dead bodies, but burn them, so
that a plague may not arise from them, and so that they may be
converted into fire, a very noble and powerful thing, which has
its coming from the sun and returns to it.  And for the above
reasons no chance is given for idolatry.  The statues and pict-
ures of the heroes, however, are there, and the splendid women
set apart to become mothers often look at them.  Prayers are
made from the State to the four horizontal corners of the
world -- in the morning to the rising sun, then to the setting
sun, then to the south, and lastly to the north; and in the con-
trary order in the evening, first to the setting sun, to the rising
sun, to the north, and at length to the south.  They repeat but
one prayer, which asks for health of body and of mind, and
happiness for themselves and all people, and they conclude it
with the petition "As it seems best to God."  The public prayer
for all is long, and it is poured forth to heaven.  For this rea-
son the altar is round and is divided crosswise by ways at right
angles to one another.  By these ways Hoh enters after he has
repeated the four prayers, and he prays looking up to heaven.
And then a great mystery is seen by them.  The priestly vest-
ments are of a beauty and meaning like to those of Aaron.
They resemble nature and they surpass Art.

   They divide the seasons according to the revolution of the
sun, and not of the stars, and they observe yearly by how much
time the one precedes the other.  They hold that the sun ap-
proaches nearer and nearer, and therefore by ever-lessening cir-
cles reaches the tropics and the equator every year a little
sooner.  They measure months by the course of the moon,
years by that of the sun.  They praise Ptolemy, admire Coper-
nicus, but place Aristarchus and Philolaus before him.  They
take great pains in endeavoring to understand the construction
of the world, and whether or not it will perish, and at what time.
They believe that the true oracle of Jesus Christ is by the signs
in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, which signs do not thus
appear to many of us foolish ones.  Therefore they wait for
the renewing of the age, and perchance for its end.

   They say that it is very doubtful whether the world was made
from nothing, or from the ruins of other worlds, or from chaos,
but they certainly think that it was made, and did not exist
from eternity.  Therefore they disbelieve in Aristotle, whom
they consider a logican and not a philosopher.  From analo-
gies, they can draw many arguments against the eternity of the
world.  The sun and the stars they, so to speak, regard as the
living representatives and signs of God, as the temples and holy
living altars, and they honor but do not worship them.  Be-
yond all other things they venerate the sun, but they consider
no created thing worthy the adoration of worship.  This they
give to God alone, and thus they serve Him, that they may not
come into the power of a tyrant and fall into misery by undergo-
ing punishment by creatures of revenge.  They contemplate and
know God under the image of the Sun, and they call it the sign
of God, His face and living image, by means of which light,
heat, life, and the making of all things good and bad proceed.
Therefore they have built an altar like to the sun in shape, and
the priests praise God in the sun and in the stars, as it were His
altars, and in the heavens, His temple as it were; and they pray
to good angels, who are, so to speak, the intercessors living in
the stars, their strong abodes.  For God long since set signs of
their beauty in heaven, and of His glory in the sun.  They say
there is but one heaven, and that the planets move and rise of
themselves when they approach the sun or are in conjunction
with it.

   They assert two principles of the physics of things below,
namely, that the sun is the father, and the earth the mother;
the air is an impure part of the heavens; all fire is derived from
the sun.  The sea is the sweat of earth, or the fluid of earth
combusted, and fused within its bowels, but is the bond of
union between air and earth, as the blood is of the spirit and
flesh of animals.  The world is a great animal, and we live
within it as worms live within us.  Therefore we do not belong
to the system of stars, sun, and earth, but to God only; for in
respect to them which seek only to amplify themselves, we are
born and live by chance; but in respect to God, whose instru-
ments we are, we are formed by prescience and design, and for
a high end.  Therefore we are bound to no father but God, and
receive all things from Him.  They hold as beyond question the
immortality of souls, and that these associate with good angels
after death, or with bad angels, according as they have likened
themselves in this life to either.  For all things seek their like.
They differ little from us as to places of reward and punish-
ment.  They are in doubt whether there are other worlds be-
yond ours, and account it madness to say there is nothing.
Nonentity is incompatible with the infinite entity of God.  They
lay down two principles of metaphysics, entity which is the
highest God, and nothingness which is the defect of entity.
Evil and sin come of the propensity to nothingness; the sin
having its cause not efficient, but in deficiency.  Deficiency is,
they say, of power, wisdom, or will.  Sin they place in the last
of these three, because he who knows and has the power to do
good is bound also to have the will, for will arises out of them.
They worship God in trinity, saying God is the Supreme
Power, whence proceeds the highest Wisdom, which is the same
with God, and from these comes Love, which is both power
and wisdom; but they do not distinguish persons by name, as
in our Christian law, which has not been revealed to them.
This religion, when its abuses have been removed, will be the
future mistress of the world, as great theologians teach and
hope.  Therefore Spain found the New World (though its
first discoverer, Columbus, greatest of heroes, was a Genoese),
that all nations should be gathered under one law.  We know
not what we do, but God knows, whose instruments we are.
They sought new regions for lust of gold and riches, but God
works to a higher end.  The sun strives to burn up the earth,
not to produce plants and men, but God guides the battle to
great issues.  His the praise, to Him the glory!

G.M.  Oh, if you knew what our astrologers say of the com-
ing age, and of our age, that has in it more history within 100
years than all the world had in 4,000 years before! of the won-
derful inventions of printing and guns, and the use of the mag-
net, and how it all comes of Mercury, Mars, the Moon, and the

Capt.  Ah, well!  God gives all in His good time.  They
astrologize too much.

[1] A pace was 1-9/25 yard, 1,000 paces making a mile

< < Previous Page    

Other sites: