Excerpt from The Private Life of Galileo By Galileo Galilei, Maria Celeste Galilei, Mary Allan-Olney

Galileo's Respect for People

His demeanor was modest and unassuming: he neither depreciated nor envied the talent of other men but gave to all their due and more than their due. Of self praise so much is recorded of him by Gherardini that when his eyesight was decaying day by day he endeavored to take comfort by saying that of all the sons of Adam none had seen so much as he. He never spoke of Aristotle in terms of contempt as was the custom with some of his followers but contented himself by saying that he did not find his method of reasoning satisfactory. Of Kepler, whose extravagance was evident, he said on being pressed for his opinion that he was undoubtedly a great philosopher but that his mode of philosophizing was vastly different to his own. He exalted Plato to the skies calling his eloquence golden. He also praised Pythagoras as unequaled among philosophers, but Archimedes was the only one of the ancients whom he called master. He was extremely fond of the writings of Ariosto, and was accustomed to say that reading Tasso after Ariosto was like eating cucumbers after melons. Endowed with great tenacity of memory he could repeat by heart a great part of the works of Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Seneca the sonnets of Petrarch, the rime of Berni, and the heroic stanzas of Ariosto in whose "Gerusa lemme Liberata" he found new beauties each time he read it. Not to make the list of his attainments too long we may say that there was no art, science,nor handicraft in which he was not superior to the generality of men professing them. He protested that he had never met with a man so ignorant but that something might be learnt from him.