The Galileo Project
site map

Magiotti, Raffaello

1. Dates
Born: Montevarchi, Tuscany, 1597
Died: Rome, 1656
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 59
2. Father
Occupation: Gentry
The father is described as small provincial nobility. This sounds like what is called gentry in England.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: No University
He studied in Florence. Later, in Rome, he was one of the three favored followers of Galileo, but he was not Galileo's student at any time.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Physics
He demonstrated experimentally Torricelli's hypothesis that the mean velocity of a liquid flowing out of the bottom outlet of a vessel is proportional to the square root of the head pressure. He determined the rate of flow through various sizes of openings. Only one work by him was printed during his lifetime, the Renitenza dell'acqua alla compressione (1648). This work embodies the first published announcement of the near incompressibility of water at a constant temperature and the expansion and contraction of water and air according to changes in temperature.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage, Church Life
After becoming a priest in the order of Santa Lucia della Chavica, he was invited to accompany Cardinal Sacchetti to Rome around 1630 as his houseguest. In 1636 he was appointed scrittore on the scholarly staff of the Vatican Library with a salary of 200 scudi a year. He lived the rest of his life in the court of the Cardinal he had followed to Rome.
8. Patronage
Types: Eccesiastic Official, Court Official
He was invited to accompany Cardinal Sacchetti to Rome around 1630 as his houseguest.
Galileo and Castelli wished to nominate him (1638-1640) for the chair of mathematics at Pisa, but he refused to leave the congenial intellectual life of Rome. I do not list this as patronage because it did not come to pass.
He dedicated the Renitenza to Lorenzo de' Medici. I admit that I do not know who Lorenzo was (in the mid 17th century), and wonder if it was a slip for Leopoldo. In either case I assume that he was part of the court.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Instruments
Magiotti developed the "Cartesian devil" or "diver" to illustrate the incompressibility of water.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
He was one of the three favored followers, along with Castelli and Torricelli, whom Galileo referred to as his Roman "triumvirate." He maintained a correspondence with Galileo.
Torricelli greatly admired him, openly acknowledged his aid in the field of hydrodynamics, and sought his approval of his work on solid cycloids.
He was present at an experiment to test why pumps raise water only about 30 feet that was devised and staged in Rome by Berti at sometime between 1638 and 1644.
  1. G. Targioni-Tozzetti, Notizie degli aggrandimenti delle scienze fisiche accaduti in Toscana nel corso di anni LX del secolo XVII, 2, (Florence, 1780), 182-91. Microprint Q111.L2 no.T11
  2. C. De Waard, L'experience barometrique, new ed. (Thouars, 1936), pp.101-17, 132-7, 178-82. QC886.W12
  3. W.E.K. Middleton, History of the Barometer, pp. 10-18. QC886.M62
  4. _____, The Invention of Meteorological Instruments, pp. 3-18.
  5. QC876.M588
  6. Maurizio Torrini, "Due galileiani a Roma: Raffaello Magiotti e Antonio Nardi," in G. Arrighi et al., La scuola galileiana, (Firenze, 1979), pp. 53-88.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. P. Berlingozzi, "Raffaello Magiotti e la sua opera scientifica nel sec. XVII (Rivendicazioni valdarnesi ignorate)" in Memorie valdarnesi, 2, 9, (Montevarchi, 1902).
  2. Luigi Belloni, article on the Galilean "triumvirate" in Rome, in F. de Gandt, ed., L'oeuvre de Torricelli: science galiléenne et nouvelle géométrie, (Paris, 1989).
  3. There does not seem to be a great deal of information about Magiotti.
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
Last updated
Home | Galileo | Biography | Chronology | Family | Portraits |
Science | Christianity | Library | About | Site Map | Search

Please note: We will not answer copyright requests.
See the copyright page for more information.