Antonio Magliabechi wrote Letter L-275 of 1695-10-23 to Leeuwenhoek about recent books in Latin and Italian by Italians that he thought might be of interest

October 23, 1695

In this excerpt from his letter, Magliabechi reports on several recent books that he thought might be of interest to L. written in Latin and Italian by Italians Bernardo Ramazzini, Giovan Battista Boccabadati, Giovanni Andrea Bontempi, Giovanni Battista Scaramucci, Pietro Paolo Bosca, and Lorenzo Alessandro Zaccagni.

The text as printed here is that of editor Pieter Rabus’s translation of part of the letter in De Boekzaal van Europe, which regularly published “Italiaansch Boeknieuws”, excerpts from letters by Magliabechi. This letter is the third of the eleven letters with book news published in ten Boekzaal articles from March 1693 to October 1699. Here, Rabus puts Magliabechi’s words in quotation marks and provides his own loose translations of the Latin and Italian titles.

L. does not refer to this letter in any of his own letters.



“Italiaansch Boeknieuws”, De Boekzaal van Europe, March and April 1696, pp. 374-78. – Dutch translation of the original Latin and Italian.

Copied and pasted from Collected Letters, vol. 20, "this volume" in the footnotes.

Italian Book News, drawn from a second letter from Mr Antoni Magliabecchi[1], overseer of the library of his princely illustriousness the grand duke of Florence, written to Mr Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, from Florence on the 23rd of the wine month[2] last


            Ephemerides barometricae Mutinenses anni 1694, una cum disqusitione causae ascensus Mercurii in Tericelliana fistula, juxta diversum aeris statum Bernardini Ramazzini M. P. Ad illustrissimum & celeberrimum virum D. Lucam Schrookium, Academie Cesareo Leopoldine naturae curiosorum praesidem: His accessere epistolae excellentissimorum D.D. Jo. Baptista Boccabadati, ’t. V. D. & Francisci Torti M. P.

That is,

            Barometric journals of Modena[3] of the year 1694, along with an investigation of the reason for the rise and fall of the quicksilver in the Torcelli weather glass[4], for various climate conditions, by physician Bernardijn Ramazzini[5], to the very famous sir Lukas Schrook[6] president of the Imperial Academy of Nature Seekers. Added to this are the letters of the gentlemen Baptist Bokkabadati[7], legal scholar, and Francois Torti[8], physician. In Modena by A. Kapponi and H. Pontiroli, 1695, in 8.


            Istoria Musica, nella quale si ha piena cognizzione della Teoria, e della pratica antica della Musica harmonica, secondo la dottrina de Greci, i quali inventata prima da tubal avanti il diluvio, e poi doppo ritrovata da Mercurio, la restituirono nella sua e antica dignita: e come dalla Teoria, e dalla pratica antica sia poi nata la pratica moderna, che contiene la pratica del contrapunto. Opera non meno utile, che necessaria, a chi desidero di studiare in questa scienza, di Gio. Angelini Bontempi Perugino.

That is,

            The history of music, containing full knowledge of the theories and ancient practices of harmonious music, according to the teaching of the Greeks, who, found first by Jubal[9] before the Flood, then later recovered by Mercury[10], have restored it to its previous ancient dignity: and how present-day practice arose from the old theories and practices, which includes the practice of counterpoint. A work not less useful than necessary to those who seek to learn this science, by Jn. Angelini Bontempi[11] of Perugia. In Perugia by Konstantini, 1695, in fol.


            Printed in Urbino is a book of Mr Scaramucci[12], primary physician of the city.


            Mr. Pietro Paolo Bosea[13], overseer of the famous Ambrosian Library of Milan[14], writes to Mr. Magliabechi that he will send him shortly his martyrs’ list of the mentioned city of Milan.


            Also, Mr. M. Henrik Noris[15], Vatican librarian, has informed him that within two months he will discharge his responsibility to a certain nameless writer in Rome.


            Mr. Zaccagna[16], assistant librarian of the same Vatican, has printed in Rome a number of Greek writers, never published before, with his brief notes.


[1] Antonio Magliabechi (1633-1714) was librarian to Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici of Tuscany. For Cosimo III, see Magliabechi’s Letter L-272 of 12 October 1695, n. 2, in this volume. It is unclear what Rabus means by “second letter” since this is the four letter that he has excerpted in Boekzaal.

[2] Rabus used Wynmaand, literally “Wine month”, the old Dutch name for October.

[3] Rabus used Weegkundige, which means the science of weights of objects and also mathematics in general. The English and Dutch word barometer was not commonly used until late in the 1700s.

[4] The barometer, originally called Torricelli’s tube, was invented around 1644 by Florentine Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647), who became the first to create a sustained vacuum and to observe how the movement of mercury within it was caused by changes in atmospheric pressure.

[5] For Bernardo Ramazzini, see Letter L-219 of 24 June 1692, n. 9, in this volume.

[6] Ramazzini dedicated the book to Lucas Schroeck (1646-1730, also Lukas Schröck, Luca Schröckio), a German naturalist who studied medicine at the university in Jena. In 1677, Schroeck became a member of the Academia Naturae Curiosorum (Academy of Sciences) and in 1685, editor of its journal Miscellanea Curiosa, sive Ephemiridum Medico-Physicarum Germanicarum Academiae Naturae Curiosorum. In 1693, he became the fourth president of the academy, in 1687 renamed the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (German Academy of Natural Scientists). For more on the academy and its journal, see Letter L-338 of 21 March 1698, n. 10, in this volume.

[7] Giovan Battista Boccabadati (1635-1696) practiced and taught law in Modena. He was a mathematician, engineer and writer, especially of plays.

[8] Italian physician Francesco Torti (1658-1741), an associate of Ramazzini, taught anatomy and surgery at the University of Modena. He is noted for establishing an anatomy theater and developing an effective method for using quinine to treat malaria.

[9] Jubal is mentioned only once in the Bible. Genesis 4:21 (King James Version): “And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.”

[10] The Roman Mercury’s Greek counterpart, Hermes, is said to have invented the lure and the aulos.

[11] Giovanni Andrea Bontempi, born Angelini, (ca. 1624-1705) was an Italian castrato singer, composer, historian, and music theorist who worked in Dresden after 1657.

[12] Giovanni Battista Scaramucci was the first physician of Urbino and after 1690, a member of the Academy Leopoldina. See L.’s Letter 185 L-323 of 6 June 1697 to Antonio Magliabechi, Collected Letters, vol. 12, p. 161: “Recently I received your very welcome letter, with the printed letter addressed to you by the excellent medical doctor Scaramucci, which letter speaks, inter alia, about the petrified skeleton of an elephant, found in Saxony.” L. is referring to Scaramucci’s Meditationes familiares ad clarissimum & sapientissimum virum Antonium Magliabechium bibliotecarium M.D.E., in epistolam ei conscriptam De sceleto elephantino a celeberrimo Wilhelmo Ernesto Tentzelio historiographo ducali Saxonico, vbi quoque testaceorum petrifactiones defenduntur, & aliqua subterranea phænomena examini subjiciuntur (Family meditations on the famous and wise man Antonio Magliabechi in the library M.D.E., in a letter written to him about the elephant skeleton by the most famous Saxon historian William Ernesto Tentzelius), Urbino, 1697. Wilhelm Ernst Tentzel (1659-1707) was a German historian and numismatist and after 1694 court historiographer to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. His 1696 publication Epistola de sceleto elephantino (Letter about the elephant skeleton) proved that recently discovered bones were not a mineral; they came from an elephant. For Giovanni Battista Scaramucci (c. 1650-c. 1710), see the Biog. Reg., ibidem, p. 407.

[13] Pietro Paolo Bosca (1632-1699) was an Italian priest, scholar and librarian. His book Martyrologium Mediolanensis ecclesiae cum notationibus illustriss etc. (Martyrologium of the church of Milan with illustrious notations) was published in 1695.

[14] The Ambrosian Library in Milan, a major repository of Counter-Reformation Catholic scholarship, opened in 1609 as one of the first public libraries. See also Letter L-322 of 1 June 1697, Letter L-326 of August 1697, and Letter L-350 of late 1698, all from Magliabechi to L. and all in this volume.

[15] Henry Noris (1631-1704, also Enrico), an Italian church historian and theologian who belonged to the Order of the Hermits of Saint Augustine, was a member of the Arcadian Academy. In 1692, Pope Innocent XII named Noris assistant librarian in the Vatican. In 1700, he was given full charge of the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library) and made a cardinal. For the Arcadian Academy, see Letter L-350 of the end of 1698, n. 7, in this volume

[16] Italian architect Lorenzo Alessandro Zaccagni (1652–1712) was first custodian of the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana under Henry Noris. His book Collectanea Monumentorum veterum Ecclesiæ græcæ ac latinæ (A collection of monuments of the ancient Greek and Latin Church) was published in Rome in 1698.