Galileo's mother. An aristocratic woman, she was dissatisfied with her middle- class financial status, and disapproved of Galileo's father's dabbling in music.
An ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, his theories on physics and astronomy informed the conventional wisdom of Galileo's day.
A Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Jesuit order. A great intellect, he was initially well disposed to Galileo, but Galileo's enthusiasm for the Copernican system led to a falling-out between the men.
A great Polish astronomer in the early 16th century, he first proposed the theory that the earth might go around the sun.
Galileo's father. Vincenzo made a living in the wool trade, but his first love was music.
Galileo's mistress during his years at the University of Padua, and the mother of his three children
A great German astronomer and contemporary of Galileo's, he was a staunch advocate of the Copernican system.
A renowned astronomer in ancient Rome, he championed the geocentric theory, which placed the earth at the center of the universe.
A liberal Cardinal who was friendly with Galileo before being elected Pope. However, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems alienated him–he felt it mocked him–and he refused to support the astronomer during his trial.
Galileo's eldest and favorite daughter. She became a nun, and supported her father during his Inquisition trial.