Giordano Bruno's father, Giovanni Bruno, was a professional soldier who married Fraulissa Savolino. They baptised their son Filippo Bruno but later Filippo was called "Il Nolano" after the town of his birth which stands on the northeastern slope of Vesuvius. Only at the age of 17 when he entered the Dominican convent of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples, where Thomas Aquinas had taught, did Filippo take the name Giordano.
Bruno left his home town of Nola to travel to nearby Naples when he was 14 years old to study there. He attended lectures on humanities, logic and dialectics in Naples and it was at this time that he was influenced by one of his teachers towards Averroism. This was Christian philosophy based on an interpretation of Aristotle's works through the Muslim philosopher Averroes. Its basic belief was that reason and philosophy are superior to faith and knowledge founded on faith.
We shall see as we relate the story of Bruno's life how he continued to be influenced by the ideas of Averroism.
After his studies in Naples, Bruno entered the Dominican convent of San Domenico Maggiore in 1565 taking at this time the name Giordano. His views were considered heretical by many in the convent, but nevertheless he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1572. Returning to San Domenico Maggiore he took courses on theology, completing the full range of course there, but he was upset by certain points in the Christian teaching which was presented to him. He wrote later that the teaching:-
... attempted to draw me from worthier and higher occupations, to lay my spirit in chains, and from a free man in the service of virtue to make me the slave of a miserable and foolish system of deceit.
Never one to accept what he was...