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Baglivi, Georgio

1. Dates
Born: Ragusa (Dubrovnik), 8 Sept. 1668
Died: Rome, 15 June 1707
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 39
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
Biagio di Giorgio Armeno, a merchant. The family had come from Armenia; hence the name. The grandfather was a wealthy merchant and presumably the father was also. Both parents died when Baglivi was two, and with his younger brother he was reared for nine years by an uncle. When the uncle died, a peasant woman who had been a servant of the family, took over the two boys. Shortly thereafter the Jesuits became interested in them and educated them. When Giorgio was fifteen, a request came to the Jesuit school from Lecce, from a physician, Pietro Angeli Baglivi who had no son, for a boy of talent whom he would rear. The Jesuits sent Giorgio. The physician adopted him, gave him his name, instructed him in the elementary aspects of medicine, and saw to his university education.
When all the factors are considered, it appears to me that he grew up in affluent circumstances, despite being orphaned.
3. Nationality
Birth: Republic of Dubrovnik (i.e, Jugoslav area)
Career: Italy
Death: Rome, Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Naples, Salerno. M.D., P.D.
Studied at the Jesuit College of Dubrovnik and College of Georgius. Also studied medicine in Naples.
Got M.D. and Ph.D. at Salerno in 1688.
After he completed his degree, Baglivi made the tour of various medical centers in Italy, especially Florence (where he studied with Bellini) and Bologna, where he studied with Malpighi).
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Physiology, Anatomy, Medicine
Among his publications on Physiology, Anatomy, and medicine are: De praxi medica, (Rome, 1696). De fibra motrice ac morbosa libri IV, (Rome, 1702).
Baglivi advocated a rejection of speculation and a return to empirical hippocratic medicine based on clinical study. In fact he was not all that free of speculation himself, being a committed iatromechanist.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage
Secondary: Academia, Schoolmastering
Baglivi began his medical practice with his adoptive father in Lecce. After 1688, he worked in hospitals in Padua, Venice, Florence, Bologna and other Italian Cities. At least one source says also the Netherlands and England.
He settled briefly in Bologna as a pupil and assistant of Marcello Malpighi in 1691, living in Malpighi's house. When Malpighi became physician to the Pope, he took Baglivi with him, which was Baglivi's introduction to Rome. He lived in Malpighi's house until Malpighi's death.
Baglivi became second physician to Pope Innocent XII in 1695, and later new Pope Clement XI confirmed his position at court and named him professor of anatomy in 1696 and professor of theoretical medicine at the Sapienza in 1701.
He also gave private lessons, especially to foreigners.
Stenn speaks of his flourishing practice, and Capparoni says that he was much in demand by the leading families of Rome.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Eccesiastic Official
Malpighi's promotion of Baglivi appears to have been crucial.
Pope Innocent XII, see above.
Pope Clement XI, see above.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Royal Society, Academia Leopoldina
Friendship and correspondence with Lancisi, Bellini, Redi, Tozzi, Valsalva, Ramazzini, and Trionfetti.
RS, 1697.
The Academia Naturae Curiosorum (the Leopoldina) and the Arcadia (a Roman society), 1699.
The Accademia dei Fisiocritici (Siena), 1700.
In Rome he frequented the Accademia fisico-mathematica that met in the hom of Msr. Ciampini.
The Imperial Society of Augusta (of which I have not otherwise heard).
  1. L. Munster, "Nuovi contributi alla biografia di Giorgio Baglivi" Archivio storico Pugliese, 3, nos. 1-2 ( 1950) F. Stenn, "Giorgio Baglivi" Annals of Medical History, 3rd ser., 3 (1941), pp.183-194 M.D. Grmek, "Osservazioni sulle vita, opera . . . di Giorgio Baglivi," Atti del XIV congresso internazionale di storia della medicina, 1 (Rome, 1960).
  2. Dizionario biografico degli italiani.
  3. G.M. Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d'Italia, (Brescia, 1753- ), 2, pt. 1, 51-4.
  4. Pietro Capparoni, Profili bio-bibliografici di medici e naturalisti celebri italiani dal sec. XV al sec. XVII, 2 vols. (Rome, 1925-28) 1, 57-60. In the copy I have, vol. 1 is from the second ed, (1932) and vol. 2 from the first (1928). I gather that pagination in the two editions is not identical.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. F. Scalzi, Giorgio Baglivi, altre notizie biografiche, (Rome, 1889). M. Salomon, Giorgio Baglivi und seine Zeit, (Berlin, 1889).
  2. D. Schulian, The Baglivi Correspondence from the Library of Sir William Osler, (Ithaca, NY, 1974).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

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1995 Al Van Helden
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