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Ingrassia, Giovanni Filippo

1. Dates
Born: Regalbuto (near Palermo, Sicily), ca. 1510
Died: Palermo, 6 Nov. 1580
Dateinfo: Birth Uncertain
Lifespan: 70
2. Father
Occupation: Nothing Known About The Family
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: Palermo, Padua, MD.
Apparently started medical studies in Palermo.
Soon transferred to Padua, where he was the student of Vesalius, whose lifetime follower Ingassia became.
M.D., 1537.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Primary: Med, Anatomy
Subordinate: Ingassia Is Best Known For Anatomical Studies, Especially Of the bones, which date from the period in Naples. They show his continuing debt to Vesalius.
He published on the plague.
He is called the founder of legal medicine, which in his case included issues such as the validity of testimony taken under torture. And he also contributed to veterinary medicine.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Government, Medicine
Nothing is known about his activities in the period 1537-44. In view of what followed, and in view of his degree, it is reasonable to assume that he practiced medicine and with success.
1544: appointed professor of anatomy and medicine at the University of Naples. Apparently this appointment was arranged by the Viceroy, Don Garcia di Toledo.
1556: Appointed Protomedicus at Palermo, at the recommendation of the Spanish Viceroy for Sicily, Juan de Vega.
In Sicily Ingrassia became famous for his treatment of Giovanni d'Arragone, Marquis of Terranova, who had been very seriously wounded in a tournament.
As Protomedicus, Ingrassia was able, among other things, partially to control the endemic malaria by draining swamps, and to mitigate the impact of a plague by use of isolation hospitals. He was responsible for the first sanitary code.
Capparoni states that Ingrassia's rapid professional advance was due to his fame as a physician.
8. Patronage
Types: Government Official, Aristrocrat
The viceroys (above)
The Marquis of Terranova.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Correspondence with Vesalius.
  1. G. Pitrè, "Pel IV centenario della nascita di G.F. Ingrassia," Atti della R. Accademia delle scienze mediche in Palermo, (1913-15), 150-67.
  2. A. Piraino, "G.F. Ingrassia, l'"ipocrate siciliano" del '500 e la sua opera," La cultura medica moderna, 15 (1936), 270-8.
  3. OK Pietro Capparoni, Profili bio-bibliografici di medici e naturalisti celebri italiani dal sec. XV al sec. XVII, 2 vols. (Rome, 1925-28), 1, 42-4. 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.
  4. Dezeimeris, J.E. Ollivier and Raige-Delorme, Dictionnaire historique de la médecine ancienne et moderne, 4 vols. (Paris, 1828-39), 3, 210-1. 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. G.G. Perrando, "Festeggiamenti commemorativi," Rivista di storia critica delle scienze mediche e naturali, 1 (1910-12), 75-9.
  2. B. Bilancioni, "L'opera medico-legale di Ingrassia," Cesalpino, 11 (1915), 249-71.
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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