Dissemination of the Dialogue

Despite the ecclesiastical censure, both the Latin translation and the original Italian edition of the Dialogue were widely distributed in the seventeenth century. To date, an astonishing 250 copies have been found in various libraries scattered across Europe and the United States. Handwritten copies were also passed around. In contemporary texts of other authors, verbatim quotations can be found from the Dialogue, e.g. in "Prodromus …" by Christoph Scheiner, published in Prague in 1651.

When the mathematician and physicist Vincenzo Viviani (1622–1703), Galileo's last pupil, was preparing the first edition of his master's collected works, he vehemently campaigned for the ecclesiastical authorities to approve a reissue of the Dialogue. Despite all his efforts, however, Galileo's works appeared in Bologna in 1656 without the Dialogue. But Viviani managed, in the First Book of Euclid's Elements, published in 1674 in Florence, to quote some passages of text from the Dialogue.