LifeHis/her father is the count Teseo Aldrovandi, notary and secretary with the senate of Bologna, his mother, Veronica Marescalchi, is cousin of Ugo Boncompagni (which will become later pope under the name of Gregoire XIII).
Orphan early (1529), it receives the first education by private tutors. He studies the Arithmétique at Annibale della Nave and, in 1537, becomes accountant near a merchant of Brescia during one year. He then undertakes a voyage which leads it Rome to Saint-Jacob de Compostelle.
Of return to Bologna in 1539, under the pressure of its family, it gives up her projects of voyage to follow the lesson of the Humanités and the Droit in the universities of Bologna and Padoue and becomes notary in 1542.
Aldrovandi gives up the body of notaries in 1547 to devote itself to its centers of interests. It turns first of all to the Philosophie and the Logique before also being interested in the Médecine.
Shown heresyHe is shown of Hérésie in 1549 because it is suspected of maintaining the relations with the anabaptist Camillo Renato. In spite of its solemn abjuration, he is imprisoned with Rome where there remain eighteen months. During its semi-detention, he discovers the Botanique, the Zoologie and the Géologie (many historians think that it is him which it first employed this term). Aldrovandi at that time meets Guillaume Rondelet then with Rome like Paolo Giovio (1486-1552).
In 1550, it writes its first text, Delle rules Romance antiche, che per tutta Roma, in diversi luoghi, and puts if veggono in a book on Roman antiquities of Lucio Mauro which will appear under the title of the antichità of the città di Roma in 1556.
Its scientific vocationIt returns to Bologna in 1551 and starts to look further into its knowledge on the Botanique, the Zoologie, the Minéralogie and, of course, the Médecine. It starts to be interested in the anatomical dissections, which it will practice all its life.
Between 1551 and 1554, it organizes several forwardings to collect plants for its herbarium. It is undoubtedly in 1551, qu ' it meets and binds friendship with Luca Ghini, botanist, who taught then with Pisa. The plants are not its only interests and it benefits from its excursions to collect animals and minerals.
TeachingIt obtains a title of doctor in Médecine and Philosophie the November 23rd 1553 and starts to teach the latter and logic at the university of Bologna in 1554. This same year, he herborizes in the surrounding countryside with several scientists like Luigi Anguillara, Andrea Alpago, Francesco Calzolari and well of others. Of passage to Padoue, it binds friendship with the doctor Gabriele Falloppio. It projects to visit the garden of simple of Venice but Pietro Andrea Michiel, large Italian anatomist, then in cold with Falloppia prohibits the access of them to him.
In 1556, Aldrovandi starts to develop its botanical studies on the basis of examination of the reproductive bodies, sees which will be developed thereafter by Andrea Cesalpino. This same year, it starts to teach medical botany.
In 1559, he becomes professor of philosophy and, in 1561, he becomes the first professor of Natural history in Bologna (its course is entitled will lectura philosophiae naturalis ordinaria of fossilibus, plantis and animalibus ).
In 1564, it starts to seek supports near the senate bolognais to obtain the creation of a Botanical garden in its city, project which leads only in 1568. In April 1565, his Paola wife dies and, in October of the same year, it remarie with Francesca Fontana which will assist it in all its research.
Its publicationsAs from 1570, Aldrovandi will publish many books where it exposes its discoveries. It continues the study of the medical matters while regularly making excursions to study nature that it meets there. It regularly makes appear works while its Cabinet of curiosities increases regularly, it will count more than 18.000 parts at the end of its life.
It forms a great project for the edition of a vast encyclopedia of natural history. It signs in 1594, a contract with the Venetian editor Francesco de Franceschi. But the bankruptcy of this one prevents the edition of this encyclopedia, only three volumes of ornithology and one of entomology appears the alive one of Aldrovandi.
Aldrovandi bequeaths to its death 3.600 printed books and approximately 300 manuscripts with the senate of Bologna, which has in load to preserve them in an adapted place. A natural history museum will be created in 1617 and will receive, in addition to the collections of Aldrovandi, its herbarium of more than 7.000 specimens.
Its work appears today, compared to our criteria, like completely obsolete and without interest. Georges Cuvier will say of it that it is “an immense compilation without taste nor genius” and that if all the useless passages were removed, there would remain only one tenth about it. However, Aldrovandi, with other scientists of its time, will constitute a big step in the emergence of modern biological science.
BotanyWith its request and under its direction, a Botanical garden opened with the public is created in Bologna in 1568. Following a controversy with the pharmacists and the doctors of his city, in 1575, one removes the right to him to teach. In 1577, it requests the assistance of the Pape Gregoire XIII (a cousin of its mother) to obtain authorities of Bologna the restitution of its loads as well as an financial aid to make appear its works. It bequeaths its immense collections naturalists to the university of Bologna thus allowing the creation of a natural history museum of natural history, one of the first in Europe. Its herbarium thus consisted of more than 7.000 samples that Aldrovandi used during its teaching.
OrnithologyThe three books constituting volume XII of sound Natural history appear the alive one of Aldrovandi. In 1599, appears the first volume under the title of Ornithologiae, hoc is vibus historia libri XII devoted to the Rapace S. In 1600, Ornithologiae tomus alter is devoted to the terrestrial birds used in the food and to the songbirds. Lastly, in 1603, Ornithologiae tomus tertius, ac postremus , milked water birds or alive near water.
Aldrovandi described there of many new species, in particular coming from America, of Africa and Asia. Among those, one can quote the Casoar, several Toucan S and Calao S. It mentions even a species of Pie coming from the Japan.
Its work is not free from errors, since it confuses the Dindon S coming from America with the Pintade S coming from Africa. It is less critical and writing with less style than Conrad Gessner, but its illustrations are better and its more advanced classification.
It gives the names Greek, Hebrew, Arab, Latin and Italian. It gives, for each species, of detailed descriptions where it specifies its manners, its food mode, the techniques of capture and breeding, its culinary quality, its utility in medicine, the place which it occupies in the emblems or mythology, crowned or layman, proverbs or symbols. It is also interested in the anatomy and incubation of eggs.
By many aspects, its work is very original and contains many information ever published before: for example, of the anatomical illustrations to describe the movement of the mandibles at the Parrot S.
HerpetologyIt is Bartholomée Ambrosini, professor in Bologna, which publishes the two books on the Serpent S and the Lézard S after the death of Aldrovandi: Serpentium and Draconum historiæ libri duet . Twenty-two chapters are devoted to the reptiles and six to lizards like to some fabulous animals like the dragon.
EntomologyIn 1602, it makes appear animalibus insectis libri septem, cum singulorum iconibus AD vivum expressis devoted to the Insecte S and others Invertébré S.
In the Words and the things (p. 54-55 and 141), Michel Foucault treats the work of Aldrovandi like characteristic of the system of thought of the Rebirth. In particular, this author is used to him as lever to show that its scientific work was less rigorous than that of Buffon, but rested only on another fundamental provision of the knowledge, or épistémè . What changed, of the one with the other, is not the scientific degree of rigor, but the type of speech which one awaited from a scientist, design of the order.
Published of alive sound:
- Ornithologiae, hoc is vibus historia libri XII (1599);
- Ornithologiae tomus alter (1600);
- Of animalibus insectis libri septem, cum singulorum iconibus AD vivum expressis (1602);
- Ornithologiae tomus tertius, ac postremus 1603).
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