Antonio Magliabechi wrote Letter L-359 to Leeuwenhoek with reports on several recent books written in Latin by Italians that he thought might be of interest

September 8, 1699

No manuscript is known.

In this excerpt from his letter, Antonio Magliabechi reports on several recent books that he thought might be of interest to L. and the Dutch readers of Rabus’s Boekzaal. The books were written in Latin by Italians Filippo Bonanni, Raffaello Fabretti, Bernard de Montfaucon, Antonio de Monforte, Giovanni Battista Contoli, Bernardo Trevesian, Alexander Pescoli, Tommaso Ceva, Father Giannetario, Bernardino Ramazzini, and Dr. Bertini. He also encloses a printed sheet describing a bag that would not break when gunpowder inside of it exploded.

The text below is that of editor Pieter Rabus’s sometimes loose translation in De Boekzaal van Europe, which regularly published “Italiaansch Boeknieuws”, excerpts from letters by Magliabechi to Leeuwenhoek. Rabus printed only the book news. This letter is the last of the eleven letters with book news published in ten Boekzaal articles from March 1693 to October 1699. His next letter with book news, Letter L-381 of mid-1701, was published in Rabus’s new journal, the short-lived Twee Maandlijke Uittreksels.


What is known about the other parts of the letter comes from L.’s Letter 206 [121] L-363 of 16 October 1699 to Antonio Magliabechi

I have duly received Your Honour’s very welcome and very courteous letter, which also dealt with the news about Italian books, and further the enclosed printed sheet describing the admirable invention of the bag in which gunpowder was enclosed and the force which this bag had resisted without breaking. I am most grateful for this undeserved communication.

“Italiaansch Boeknieuws”, De Boekzaal van Europe, September and October 1699, pp. 376-79. Copied and pasted from Collected Letters, vol. 20, "this volume" in the footnotes.

Italian Book News, out of the latest letter from Mr Antoni Magliabechi[1] written in Florence on the 8th of September 1699 to Mr Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.


Numismata Pontificum Romanorum, que a tempore Martini V usque ad annum 1699 vel auctoritate publica, vel privato genio in lucens prodiere. Explicata ac multiplics eruditione sacra & prophana illustrata a P. Philippo Bonanni Societatis Jesu. Tomus primus, continens Numismata a Martino V usque ad Clementem VIII. Tomus secundus continens Numismata a Clemente VIII ad Innocentium XII feliciter regnantem.

That is,

Commemorative medals of the Roman Popes, which from the time of Martin V[2] until the year 1699, either by public authority or by special inclination, have come to light, explained and clarified with many sorts of sacred and secular scholarship by V. Filips Bonanni[3] Jesuijt. The first part, including the commemorative medals from Martin V to Clement VIII[4]. The second part, containing the medals from Clement VIII to Innocent XII[5] now happily reigning. In Rome by Dom. Anton. Hercules 1699. in fol.

These two pieces are decorated with many prints, not only of papal medals, but also of other things.


Raphaelis Fabretti Gafparis F. Urbinatis Inscriptionum antiquarum quae in aedibus paternis asservantur Explicatio & Additamentum.

That is,

Explanations and appendix of the ancient inscriptions kept in his father’s house of Rafael Fabretti[6], Gasper’s son, of Urbino. In Rome by himself in fol. 1699.


Vindiciae Editionis S. Augustini a Benedictinis adornate, adversus Epistolam Abbatis Germani, Auctore D. B. de Riviere.

That is,

Defense for the printing of Augustinian works, as published by the Benedictines, against the letter of a German abbot by D. B. de Riviere[7]. In Rome by Jak. Kamerik 1699 in 12.


Antonii de Monforte, de Syderum intervallis & magnitudinibus opusculum. Cui accessit ejusdem Tractatus de Problematum determinatione.

That is,

Antoni de Monforte’s[8] work on the intervals and magnitudes of the stars: to which is added his treatise on the determination of hypotheses. In Naples by Niklaas Abri 1699 in 4.


I presently forgot that Dr. Contoli[9] of Bologna published his book in Rome concerning the formation and making of stones in the body of animals. Few people know it yet.


l’Immortalita dell’ Anima, saggio delle Meditazzioni de Bernardo Trevisan Patricio Veneto.

That is,

The Immortality of the Soul, a sample of reflections by Bernard Trevisan[10], Venetian from a patrician family. In Venice by André Polletti 1699 in 4.


At Perugia, Alexander Pescoli[11] physician professor there, published his work on fever, according to the new subsystem, [Meetkonstiglijk betoogd] [?? Demonstrated]; with the addition of some discourses, written in the manner of a letter. in 4. 1699.


Father Ceva[12] has his poem printed, titled Jesus Puer [The child Jesus]. Father Giannetario[13] his poem della Bellica. Mr. Ramazzini’s[14] book De Morbis Artificum [Of the Diseases of Artists[15]] and Dr. Bertini[16], physician in Florence, a work concerning medicine[17].


[1] Magliabechi was librarian to Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici of Tuscany. His previous letter to L. is Letter L-350 of late 1698, in this volume.

[2] Otto Colonna (1369-1431; also Oddone) was an Italian who was excommunicated by the Roman Pope Gregory XII in 1411 for supporting the Pisan antipope. In 1417, to end the Western Schism of 1378–1417, which had resulted in popes in Rome, Pisa, and Avignon, the Council of Constance (1414–1418) arranged the abdication of Gregory XII and the Pisan pope John XXIII, they excommunicated the Avignon pope Benedict XIII, and they elected Colonna as Pope Martin V, reigning from Rome. Martin V was ordained as a priest two days after his election.

[3] Filippo Bonanni (1638-1723; also Buonanni) wrote about many subjects other than commemorative medals. See Letter L-310 of 18 December 1696, n. 3, in this volume, for L.’s refutation of Bonanni’s ideas about spontaneous generation.

[4] Clement VIII (1536-1605) was responsible early in his papacy (1592-1605) for the publication of the Clementine Vulgate translation of the Bible, which was the official Church Bible until 1979.

[5] Innocent XII (1615-1710) was the Catholic pope after 1691.

[6] Raffaello Fabretti (1618-1700), an Italian antiquarian, was the archivist of the Castel Sant’Angelo. He devoted his career to studying the monuments and inscriptions of southern Italy.

[7] B. de Riviere was a pseudonym used by Bernard de Montfaucon (1655-1741), a French Benedictine scholar and monk of the Congregation of Saint Maur. Early in his career, Montfaucon prepared editions of the writings of the Greek Church Fathers. Later, he founded the discipline of paleography and is regarded as a founder of modern archaeology.

[8] Antonio de Monforte (1644-1717) was an Italian mathematician and astronomer whose writing supported the analytical traditions of Galileo and Descartes and later Newton’s theory of universal gravitation. His Syderum Intervallis, among other things, resolved the problem of the distance of the sun from the earth by the measurement of the parallax of Mars. The appended mathematical tract discussed the difficulties of algebraic analysis.

[9] For Giovanni Battista Contoli, see Letter L-326 of August 1697, n. 7, in this volume. The book referred to here is De Lapidibus podagra, et chiragra in corpore (Stones of gout in the body) published in Rome by Bernabo in 1699.

[10] Bernardo Trevesian (1652-1720) was a Venetian senator, judge, and manuscript collector.

[11] Not identified.

[12] Tommaso Ceva (1648-1737), an Italian Jesuit, was a professor of mathematics and rhetoric in Milan who also wrote poetry. His most successful was Jesus Puer, which was translated into several languages and reprinted throughout the 18th century.

[13] Not identified.

[14] De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (Treatise on workers’ diseases) was the first book written about occupational diseases. Ramazzini set out an analytical method to diagnose the work-related risk of dozens of different professions, as well as a method of preventing them, establishing principles that are still in use. For Ramazzini, see Letter L-219 of 24 June 1692, n. 9, in this volume. Magliabechi mentions another book by Ramazzini in Letter L-290 of 5 June 1696, n. 10, in this volume.

[15] Not having seen the book, Rabus translated Artificum as konstenaars (artists), but Ramazzini meant it more in the sense of artisans, or, more generally, skilled workers.

[16] Not identified.

[17] Magliabechi’s next letter to L. is Letter L-387 of mid-1701, in this volume. Before that, L. responded with Letter 206 [121] L-363 of 16 October 1699, idem, vol. 12.