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Guidi, Guido [Vidus, Vidius]

1. Dates
Born: Florence, 10 Feb. 1509
Died: Pisa, 26 May 1569
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 60
2. Father
Occupation: Physician
Guiliano Guido was a physician from a family of physicians. The mother was a daughter of the painter Ghirlandaio.
As always, I assume affluence at the least.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian, French
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Although Guidi received a doctorate in medicine from Pisa, he got it only in 1548 when he returned there as a professor in the university and personal physician to Cosimo I. I do not list such degrees.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (by assumption)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Anatomy, Surgery, Medicine
He carried out important anatomical investigations at Pisa after 1548, recorded in a manuscript, Anatomia, which was composed around 1560. His name is attached to the canalis vidianus of the sphenoid bone and to the nerve that traverses this canal. He also made original studies of the mechanism of articulation in the human body resulting from its vertical position in relation to the mechanism of quadruped articulations.
Guidi was the author of a book on surgery that he translated from the Greek (of Hippocrates, Galen, and Oribasius--from a manuscript that Cardinal Ridolfi furnished to him) and to which he added a commentary of his own.
Guidi's Ars medicalis, in three volumes, was essentially complete at the time of Guidi's death; it was published finally in 1596.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage, Academia
Secondary: Church Life
After becoming a doctor of medicine, he practiced in Rome and Florence. In 1542 he went to Paris, where he was named royal physician and became the first professor of medicine at the Collège Royal. He left Paris in 1547 upon the death of Francis I and became professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Pisa in 1548 and physician to Cosimo I. He became a priest and was given ecclesiastical benefices, including the rectorship of Pescia.
8. Patronage
Types: Eccesiastic Official, Court Official
Cardinal Ridolfi introduced Guidi to the Greek manuscript on medicine that the cardinal then owned and that Guidi translated. Ridolfi also introduced Guidi to Francis I.
Francis I became Guidi's patron. In 1542 Guidi brought Francis the splendidly illustrated manuscripts containing his Latin translation of several classic treatises on surgery. The king named him royal physician and made him the first professor of medicine at the College Royal and conferred on him ecclesiastical benefices to increase his salary. Guidi dedicated the published work to Francis.
After the death of Francis, Cosimo I de' Medici named him professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Pisa in 1648 and his own personal physician. In Florence, he became a priest in order that he might be given various ecclesiastical benefices. He was also the consul of the Academy of Florence, and he was named to the Pisan nobility.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Medical Practice, Instruments
It appears that Guidi elaborated and improved upon various devices in Hippocrates for setting fractures and reducing dislocations.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
He maintained a friendship with Cellini.
He was a member and ultimately consul of the Florentine Academy.
  1. W.Brockbank, "THe Man Who Was Vidius," Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 19 (1956), 269-295.
  2. Dezeimeris, J.E. Ollivier and Raige-Delorme, Dictionnaire historique de la médecine ancienne et moderne, 4 vols. (Paris, 1828-39). The names, without first names or initials except for Ollivier, appear this way on volume 1; Dezeimeris alone appears on the remaining volumes.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. S. Salvini, "Guido Guidi consolo," in Fasti consolari dell' Accademia Fiorentina, (Florence, 1717), pp.115-23.
  2. P.B., "Elogio di Monsig," in Elogi degli uomini illustri di Toscana, (Lucca, 1772), 3, 250-256.
  3. M.D. Grmek, "Vidius et les illustrations anatomiques et chirurgicales de la Renaissance," in Science de la Renaissance, VIIIe Congrès Internationales de Tours, (Paris, 1973), pp. 175-86. _____, "Contribution à la biographie de Vidius," Revue d'histoire des sciences, 31 (1978), 289-99.
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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