Francesco Stabili di Simeone, better known as Cecco d’Ascoli (Ancarano, 1269 – Florence, September 16, 1327) was an Italian poet, physician, teacher, philosopher and astrologist/astronomer (at that time there was no difference between astronomy and astrology). He was condemned to the stake by the Inquisition.
He was born in Ancarano, in the State of Ascoli. At the age of 18, he joined the monastery of Santa Croce ad Templum, the center of Templar esotericism in the Southern March. He settled in Florence in November 1314 and moved to Bologna ten years later to start his career as a Professor of astronomy at the Department of Medicine of Bologna University. Shortly after, however, the Dominican Inquisitor, Lamberto da Cingoli, convicted Cecco because of some improper comments he expressed on Christian religion. As a result, Cecco d’Ascoli was fined, removed from his post and forced to pray. Moreover, all his astrology books were seized. However, his students and colleagues held him in such high esteem, that their pressure on authorities led to Cecco’s reinstatement in the University and to his promotion to a higher position. It is noteworthy to mention that during this period, Cecco had the chance to work at the Papal Court in Avignon as Pope John XXII’s personal physician.