“While European scholars were endlessly debating theology, the Arabs in Spain possessed a knowledge of the heavens, geography and mathematics that Europeans could only envy.” He handed the instrument to Giuseppe as his son turned the astrolabe over in his hands. “Let this be a reminder that all cultures have contributed to your world, whether you know it or not.”
“Time with his mother and brothers didn’t last. Soon Giuseppe, like all young men from the newly-created middle class, was sent to boarding school in Genoa, over 120 miles from his home in Nice. Nicoletta hoped he would study medicine or law but a short year into his time at school, when the teachers would not give lessons on navigation, Giuseppe and a small group of friends decided to test themselves.”
““I miss Papa,” Giuseppe admitted. His father, Giovanni, known to friends by his middle name, Domenico, often left the family for months at a time to sail his ship, the Santa Reparata. On his rare nights at home, Domenico dazzled his sons with stories of his adventures at sea, from meeting pirates to speaking the exotic languages of the many ports where his ship docked.”
“Garibaldi rode off, no longer only a child of French-held Nice, no longer the failed leader of the South American rebels of Rio Grande do Sul, no longer merely a candle-makers apprentice in the turbulent times in the far off United States. So much loss, yet so much gained in what still seemed so little time. He could barely believe it all himself.”
From hero to heretic, would he live to see honor again?
Enchanted by the labyrinth of stars above, Italian professor Galileo Galilei was determined to unearth the mysteries held within. It was 1609 and inspired by the newly invented “perspective glass,” which magnified objects on land up to three times their size, Galileo designed prototype after prototype until he achieved an unheard of 20x magnification. He pointed his invention to the heavens and the world would never be the same.
He was the first to see the moon’s craters, Jupiter’s moons, and Saturn’s rings, but when Galileo dared challenge the commonly held belief that the earth was the center of the solar system, the darling of the Medicis and Italy’s elite salon scene was assailed by the most dangerous men and powerful institution of all time. Swift and ruthless, the Inquisition had Galileo in its sights. His crime? Questioning authority and defending a truth he—the rebel later known as the Father of the Scientific Method—had proven.
If asked to list important inventors, few remember to include Alessandro Volta. Yet, his is a household name more spoken than that of Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, or even Thomas Edison. That’s because the terms “volt” and “voltage” can be attributed to Volta, the inventor of the “Voltaic pile,” which is recognized as the first electric battery. A product of the Age of Enlightenment—a time when ideas about reason, science, literature and liberty took center stage—Volta employed a very modern, hands-on approach to his work. Though he had no formal education, he was the first person to identify the gas known as methane, and created the first authoritative list of conducting metals. Alessandro Volta saw things not just as they were, but as what they could be. He was a disrupter, an innovator and a visionary. Above all, he was relentless. Without Volta’s hunger to create and his drive to invent and discover, we might not have electric cars, laptops, cellphones, and hearing aids today.
About the Author
Michael Berick is a writer and journalist, whose work has appeared in outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, LA Weekly, AAA Westways Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has written about European chocolate destinations, reviewed artist Ed Ruscha’s retrospective, and penned press material for the Grammy-nominated boxset, Battleground Korea: Songs And Sounds Of America’s Forgotten War. He also might possibly be the only music critic to have voted in both the Fids and Kamily Music Awards and the Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop Poll. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Berick currently lives in Los Angeles with wife, playwright/screenwriter Jennifer Maisel, and their daughter and dog.
The rule of power in Europe is changing…
Born in Italy at the tumultuous end of France’s influence in Europe, Giuseppe Verdi went on to become the world’s most recognizable name in opera.
Set against the rise of the Italian states in the middle of the nineteenth century, The Faithful depicts an artist bedeviled by his role not just as a composer, but as an unassuming icon of the Italian Unification and the birth of modern Italy.
Through chance encounters in gilded Milanese salons and the hushed politics of the Italian opera, we experience the struggles of a man conflicted by his role as an artist and by his commitment to a country yearning for independence.
About the Author
Collin Mitchell is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, with a degree in Comparative Literature and Film Studies. Originally from the Bay Area, he now resides in Los Angeles.
A boy, weak of body, became a pillar of strength.
As the first century approached, a sickly boy was born while the Roman Republic was nearing its ultimate demise. The boy’s life and the country both hung in the balance.
But the strong and determined young man grew to be the Republic’s fiercest defender. With his dogged determination and towering intellect, Marcus Tullius Cicero became a famed statesman, celebrated orator, and an esteemed philosopher.
Surviving civil wars, political intrigues, and assassination attempts, Cicero pushed against the grain, standing steadfastly in support of the Republic, even when it threatened his career—or his life.
About the Author
Eric D. Martin is a novelist and screenwriter. He has a BA in film studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in screen and television writing from Pepperdine University. While studying at Pepperdine, Martin served as president of the student film society, Courier 12, and was a semifinalist for the Academy of Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship. Recently, Martin adapted the novel The Liar’s Chair for the screen and wrote the popular Lifetime thriller, The Other Mother. Currently, he is writing for the premium cable television drama Heels and for Starz, and developing the TV comedy King Elizabeth.
Entering the world with a burning desire for knowledge, Thomas Aquinas set out on a quest for truth that forced him into captivity. But his thirst for truth never wavered.
Known today among many as the most brilliant light of the Church, Aquinas was a Catholic priest and a Doctor of the Church. His synthesis of Aristotle’s philosophy with Christianity significantly influenced Western thought and solidified his legacy as one of the greatest philosophers of the Western world.
Over his lifetime, Aquinas wrote many Eucharistic hymns, some of which are to this day included in the Church’s liturgy. His theological insight and natural reason make him an ideal model teacher for those pursuing Catholic priesthood.
Today, Saint Thomas is often depicted with a writing quill or an open book, proving that the search for knowledge and truth forever lives within his name.
About the Author
Margaret O’Reilly attended Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California. After graduating in 1984, she earned catechetical certification from Our Lady of Peace Pontifical Catechetical Institute in Beaverton, Oregon. She taught high school theology and Church history at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mrs. O’Reilly and her husband have twelve children whom they teach at home. Her articles on theological and apologetic topics have appeared in Catholic publications including Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and The Catholic Respons
The Forbidden City—home to the opium-addicted Ming Dynasty emperor and protected by thousands of ruthless eunuchs—no European had ever been inside. Would a simple Jesuit priest be the first?
Armed with a homemade clock, a wealth of patience, and an uncompromising drive to share his faith with a new people, Father Matteo Ricci would overcome one barrier only to be met by another: treacherous seas, a complex language, and a culture with an unshakable mistrust of foreigners and rooted in the teachings of Buddha and Confucius.
In sharing European understanding of astronomy, Ricci garnered the respect of the Chinese and despite the urgency he felt to talk about his beliefs, he tread carefully and respectfully, adopting their ways rather than imposing his own. He was one of the first Westerners to speak and read Mandarin and compiled the first Chinese-Western dictionary. By translating Greek mathematics texts into Chinese and Confucian works into Latin, as well as drawing the first world map with Chinese characters, Ricci forged a path for future scholars, explorers, and missionaries.
About the Author
Nicole Gregory is a writer and editor living in Southern California with her husband and son. She has been the Home and Garden/Travel editor at the Orange County Register, and has written and edited for numerous publications, including VIV magazine, Family Circle, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and others. Recent features she’s written include stories about a treehouse designer, why we need a surgeon general, how a cocoa bean chemical can reverse memory loss, and reasons to take an inn-to-inn hike along the Southern California coast. When she’s not obsessing about her garden, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and reading fiction.
Gregory is the author of the Mentoris Project books, God’s Messenger, The Astounding Achievements of Mother Cabrini: A Novel Based on the Life of Mother Frances X. Cabrini and Defying Danger: A Novel Based on the Life of Father Matteo Ricci.