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Aselli, Gaspare

1. Dates
Born: Cremona, 1581
Died: Milan, 9 September 1625
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 44
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat
Ancient patrician family.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italy
Career: Italy
Death: Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Pavia; M.D.
He studied medicine at the University of Pavia. His anatomy teacher was Giambattista Carcano-Leone, a pupil of Fallopio. He earned an M.D., and I assume as always the equivalent of a B.A.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Anatomy, Physiology
Subordinate: Medicine
Aselli discovered (or rediscovered) the chylous vessels, and studied systematically the signifigance of these vascular structures. The results of these investigations were collected in De lactibus sive Lacteis venis (1627).
He is said to have been the first to understand the importance of vivisection (the emphasis on first I find difficult to accept), thus opening a new road for physiology.
He also left behind some medical manuscripts that were not published.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Government
Secondary: Academia
He practiced surgery in Milan very successfully; he was made a citizen of the city.
1612-20, appointed first surgeon of Spanish army in Italy.
In 1624, he was appointed to the chair of anatomy in the Atheneum of Pavia. I find this word Atheneum a lot in the italian literature on this period. Ducceschi calls it a university. Aselli did receive an M.D. from the same institution. It must be considered a university.
8. Patronage
Type: Unknown
He received honorary citizenship in Milan; I don't know who stood behind this act.
Someone had to have pushed the appointment in Pavia.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. V.Ducceschi, "I manoscritti di Gaspare Aselli," Archivio di storia della scienza, 3 (1922), 125-43.
  2. P. Capparoni, Profili bio-bibliografici di medici e naturalisti celebri italiani dal sec. XV al sec. XVIII, (Rome, 1928), 2, 79-81. Because of the peculiar combination of first and second editions in the copy of Capparoni I read, these pages may not correspond to others.
  3. G.M.Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d'Italia, (Brescia, 1753- ), 1, pt, 2, 1159-60.
  4. Dizionario biografico degli italiani.
  5. Nouvelle biographie generale.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. R. von Toply, "Geschichte der Anatomie" in Theodor Puschmann, Handbuch der Geschichte der Medizin, pp.215-216. R131 .98 G. Zoia, Cenno sulla vita di Gaspare Aselli, (Pavia, 1875).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University
Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.
1995 Al Van Helden
Last updated
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