Nicholas Hill (scientist)
After a possible position as secretary or steward to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, he was supported by Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland. He was said to be a Catholic convert, by John Aubrey, but this is doubted by Christopher Hill. Aubrey's account also has him a close friend of Robert Hues, at the centre of the Northumberland circle. He left England and resided in Rotterdam, with his son. Hugh Trevor-Roper considers that he was a Catholic, and for that reason expelled from St John's. He also associates Hill with the plot of Sir Robert Basset. According to an account of Hues recorded by Obadiah Walker, Hill's son died and he then committed suicide.
Philosophia epicurea, democritiana, theophrastica was a work on the classical atomism of Epicurus and skepticism. It consisted of 509 aphorisms, which drew on Bruno and Lullism, Neoplatonism and Paracelsus, as well as classical authors. It was published in 1601 (Paris), and in another edition in 1619 (Geneva). It included thoughts on an imaginary voyage to the Moon, a theme taken from Bruno. It also shows a close relation to Bruno’s De Immenso and De Minimo. Other influences were Democritus, Hermes Trismegistus and William Gilbert. He was a Copernican, perhaps also following Francesco Patrizi. Hill, however, stops short of exploring atomism as a mechanistic philosophy. Robert Kargon considers that Hill was not, in strict terms, an Epicurean, reserving to Walter Charleton the first English exposition of Epicurean thought.
According to Robert Hues, other unpublished work followed Bruno.
- William Empson, John Haffenden (editor) (1995), Essays on Renaissance Literature: Donne and the New Philosophy
- Stephen Gaukroger (2001), Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-modern Philosophy
- Andrew Pyle (editor), Dictionary of Seventeenth Century British Philosophers (2000), article on Hill, pp. 424-6.
- Concise Dictionary of National Biography
- Gaukroger, p. 162.
- Christopher Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution, revisited (1997), p. 130.
- Hugh Trevor-Roper, Nicholas Hill, the English Atomist, in Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans: Seventeenth Century Essays (London, 1987), pp. 1–39.
- R. W. Serjeantson, Nicholas Hill and Edmund Verney in 1606, Notes & Queries 2005, vol. 52; Number 2, pp. 224-227.
- Empson, pp. 30-1, p. 202.
- Daniel Garber, Descartes' Metaphysical Physics (1992), p. 118.
- Empson, pp. 42-3.
- Gaukroger, p. 108.
- Daniel Garber, Michael Ayers (editors), The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-century Philosophy (2003), p. 673.
- http://www.linhard.com/FL2005/Atomism_England.pdf, note p. 2.
- Thomas C. Faulkner, Nicolas K. Kiessling, Rhonda L. Blair, J. B. Bamborough, Martin Dodsworth, The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, Volume V Commentary (1989), p. 145.
- Grant McColley, Nicholas Hill and the Philosophia Epicurea, Annals of Science, Volume 4, Issue 4 October 1939, pages 390 - 405
- Jean Jacquot, Harriot, Hill, Warner and the new philosophy, in Thomas Harriot: Renaissance Scientist, ed. John W. Shirley (Oxford, 1974), pp. 107–28.
- Stephen Clucas, 'The Infinite Variety of Formes and Magnitudes': 16th- and 17th-Century English Corpuscular Philosophy and Aristotelian Theories of Matter and Form, Early Science and Medicine, Volume 2, Number 3, 1997 , pp. 251-271
- Sandra Plastina, Nicholas Hill and Giordano Bruno: the new cosmology in the Philosophia Epicurea, Physis, 2001, 38: 415-432
- Sandra Plastina, Nicholas Hill: Philosophia Epicuraea Democritiana Theophrastica (Rome: Serra, 2007).