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Assalti, Pietro

1. Dates
Born: Acquaviva (Picena), 23 June 1680. Earlier sources (Hirsch and Saccardo) say Fermo, 1685. But the DSB article sounds pretty definite.
Died: Rome, 29 Apr. 1728
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 48
2. Father
Occupation: Magistrate
Assalti is said by one source to be the descendent of a family that held public office in Fermo in the 15th and 16th centuries. The source says nothing about the father except that he wanted his son to study law. I am willing to infer that the father also held public office.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Acquaviva Picena, Italy
Career: Italy
Death: Rome,Italy
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Studied languages at Fermo, 1695-9.
Studied law in Rome.
I did not find any mention of a degree or of medical studies, although the medical studies seem probable from the rest of his career.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (by assumption)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine
Lancisi, Assalti's mentor and friend and physician to the Pope, was instructed by the Pope to publish the Metallotheca of Michele Mercati, the description of the museum of natural history that Mercati collected in the Vatican during the second half of the 16th century. Lancisi thought that the work needed extensive annotations to bring it in to line with knowledge in the early 18th century; he entrusted this work to Assalti. It was published in 1717.
Opera omnia in duos tomos distributa, 2 vols,1718.
Edited Lancisi's work, which more than anything else won attention for Assalti.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage, Academia, Medicine
"Writer" (whatever that may mean) of the Vatican Library, appointed by Pope Clement XI, 1700s.
Professor of botany at the University of Rome, 1709-1719.
Prefect of the botanical garden of the University of Rome.
Professor of anatomy at University of Rome, 1719-21.
Professor of theoretical medicine at the University of Rome, 1721-8.
I assume medical practice in careers such as this. I did not meet with any mention of it until I read Mazzuchelli. He is quite explicit about practice, and he lived rather close to Assalti's time.
8. Patronage
Type: Eccesiastic Official
Pope Clement XI, and I assume subsequent Popes. It is impossible to imagine those academic appointments in Rome without the patronage of the Pope, or of someone in the Curia.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
Although I have not entered medical practice as a means of support, I am willing to enter it here for a professor of theoretical medicine.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. A. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Aerzte aller Zeiten und Voelker (3rd ed., Munich, 1962).
  2. P.A. Saccardo, "La botanica in Italia," Memorie del Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 26 and 27 (1895 and 1901).
  3. G.M.Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d'Italia, (Brescia, 1753- ), 1, pt. 2.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Bibioteca Comunale di Fermo,MSS8/3, in Notizie raccolte da Rodolfo Emiliani sulla familia Assalti e su Pietro Assalti V. Caria, L'universita degli studi di Fermo Ancona, 1880, p.71 G. Panelli, Memoire degli uomini illustrie chiari in medicina del Piceno, II, (Ascoli, 1767), pp.364-383.
  2. There is not much information on Assalti. The Italian biographical dictionary, the enormous one, does not include him. I have no idea of why the DSB chose to include him.
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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