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Bonaventura, Federigo

1. Dates
Born: Ancona, 24 August 1555
Died: Urbino, 25 March 1602
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 47
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat, Soldier
His father, Pietro B., was an officer in the army of the Duke of Urbino and a poet. The family was noble. The father died when Federigo was three.
However, it is obvious that he was reared in wealthy circumstances--see below.
3. Nationality
Birth: Ancona, Italy
Career: Italy
Death: Urbino, Italy
4. Education
Schooling: No University
He was educated at the house of Cardinal Giulio della Rovere in Rome, 1565-1573. Note that the della Rovere family was the ducal family of Urbino; the Cardinal was the brother of the Duke then reigning. Having returned to Urbino, Bonaventura continued his studies, particularly Greek mathematics and natural philosophy. There is no mention of a university, which was not after all for members of his class.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Meteorology
Subordinate: Medicine, Natural Philosophy, Astrology
His most important scientific writings deal with meteorology. Those writings attempted to determine the precise meaning of the ancient texts through philological techniques. he also wrote works on medical subjects (especially De natura partus octomestris, published in 1600) and political philosophy.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage, Government
After his father's death in 1565, he was supported by the Duke of Urbino, who sent him to Rome for study. Following the accession of Duke Francesco Maria II in 1574, he met even greater favor, and continued his studies. Bonaventura had grown up with Francesco Maria in the household of Cardinal della Rovere, and later he apparently played a critical role in installing Francesco Maria as Duke after severe difficulties within Urbino. In addition to his scholarly activities, he served as Urbino's ambassador to several European courts.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Eccesiastic Official
The Duke of Urbino and the Cardinal; see above.
Bonaventura did not like court life. He kept trying to escape from it, but the Duke of Urbino kept calling on his services. Finally (according to Mazzuchelli) the Duke realized what a loss it would be to learning if Bonaventura did not have leisure. Therefore he granted him an honorable stipend and gave him complete freedom. Bonaventura withdrw from the court and thenceforth pursued learning. His last work was dedicated, suitably, to the Duke.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. G.M. Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d'Italia, II, Pt. 3, (Brescia, 1760), pp.1563-1564 P. Vecchietti and T. Moro, Biblioteca picena, III, (Osimo, 1796), pp.1-6 Dizionario biografico degli italiani.
  2. C. Grossi, Degli uomini illustri di Urbino, (Urbino, 1819), pp. 58-66.
  3. In my opinion, Bonaventura made as minimal contribution to science as anyone in this catalogue. However, his scholarly activity was related to science and thus I have not seen fit to purge 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
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