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Buonanni [Bonanni], Filippo

1. Dates
Born: Rome, 7 January 1638
Died: Rome, 30 March 1725
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 87
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
I find only that his name was Ludovico Buonanni.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Rome,Italy
Career: Italy
Death: Rome,Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Collegio Romano, D.D.
He was a pupil of Athanasius Kircher in the Collegio Romano. I assume a B.A. The theological degree was not mentioned, but it went with the status of a full member of the order.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
He was a Jesuit, having entered the order in 1654.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Natural History, Microscopy
Buonanni collected shells of sea life, which he interpreted within an Aristotelian framework. He supported their spontaneous generation. Some of his observations employed a microscope.
He published a catalogue of the Kircher museum.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Church Life
Secondary: Academia
After completing his education, Buonanni taught first in the Jesuit college in Orvieta and then in the one in Ancona. He was called to Rome in 1576 to be the Archivist of the casa professa, Il Gesua (I think this was some house of the Jesuit order).
According to DSB, he became a teacher of mathematics at the Collegio Romano in 1580. I did not see this mentioned elsewhere.
He became Rector of the College of the Maronites in Rome, 1695-1725.
In 1598, he was appointed curator of the Kircherian Museum at the Collegio Romano.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristrocrat, Eccesiastic Official
His succession of position does not look like patronage in any ordinary sense of the word but rather the utilization of his talents by his order.
He dedicated a work on shellfish (1581) to Prince J.B. Panfili.
He dedicated microscopical observations of shellfish (1591) to D. Leoni Strozzi, the son of Duke Strozzi.
He dedicated a non-scientific work (1596) to Card. Bullioneo.
He dedicated a non-scientific work (1720) to the Ambassador of the King of Portugal.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Instruments
He constructed a microscope with three lenses.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. A. Neviani," Un episodio della lotta fra spontaneisti ed ovulisti. Il Padre Filippo Buonanni e l'Abate Anton Felice Marsili," Rivista di storia delle scienze mediche e naturali, 26 (1935), pp. 211-232. R131 .A1 R62 Dizionario biografico degli italiani.
  2. G.M. Mazzuchelli, Gli scrittori d'Italia, (Brescia, 1753- ), 2, pt. 4, 2329-33.
  3. Carlos Sommervogel, ed. Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, (Brussels, 1891), 2, 376-84.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. J.A. Battarra, Rerum naturalium historia existentium in Museo Kircheriano edita iam a P.Phil. Bonanni, nunc vero novo methodo cum notis illustrata ac observationibus locupletata a Johanne Antonio Battarra, 2 vols. Rome, (1773-1782).
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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