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Manfredi, Eustachio

1. Dates
Born: Bologna, 20 Sept. 1674
Died: Bologna, 15 Feb. 1739
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 65
2. Father
Occupation: Lawyer
Alfonso Manfredi was a notary, i.e., a lawyer.
It is clear that the father was in some sort of financial stringency, and partly for this reason he pressed Manfredi to study law. Later on greater financial stringencies of the father would bear upon Manfredi. However, all things are relative. I note that in addition to Eustachio, two other sons went to the university and became professors, while as fourth son became a Jesuit. There is no way in which they could have been poor. I put them down as affluent.
3. Nationality
Birth: Bologna, Italy
Career: Bologna, Italy
Death: Bologna, Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Bologna; L.D.; B.A. assumed
He began his studies at the Jesuit college at Bologna, encouraged by his father to study philosophy. He studied mathematics and hydraulics with Domenico Guglielmini, and taught himself astronomy.
1692, took a double doctorate in canon and civil law, but never practiced.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Astronomy, Hydraulics
Subordinate: Mathematics
Manfredi's publications were heavily in astronomy. However, he also wrote a number of opinions on hydraulic questions (which were published in the collections on that subject), and he editted Guglielmini's work on rivers.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Government
Secondary: Schoolmastering, Scientific Society
1698 (99 in some sources), lecturer in mathematics, Univ. of Bologna.
Obliged by family financial difficulties he took two jobs: 1704-1711, pro-rector of the pontifical college (in Bologna), College Montalto, for the education of clerics. 1704-1739, superintendent of waters in the Bologna region.
1711, appointed astronomer at the recently founded Institute of Sciences. He resigned the position at College Montalto.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristrocrat, Eccesiastic Official
When Manfredi was oppressed by the financial problems of his father, the Marquis Orsi came to his assistance and enabled him to continue his studies. Orsi apparently continued to be his patron.
Count Marsili put a small telescope in his possession at the disposal of Manfredi.
Perhaps it was the influence of Orsi and Marsili that stood behind the appointments in Bologna. Somehow I gained the impression of others, but they are not named. Marsili was responsible for the appointment as astronomer at the Institute.
The republic of Lucca wanted to put Manfredi in charge of its rivers, and the Holy Roman Emperor wanted to appoint Manfredi as his mathematician, but neither of these appointments came to pass.
Cardinal Alberoni called him to Ravenna to deal with the damage caused by rivers.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Hydraulics
c. 1690, he frabricated his own astronomical instruments, but there is no indication I found that he was responsible for any innovation here.
For years he was the superintendent of waters for Bologna. In that position he appears to have been the principal agent behind the planned diversion of the Reno into the Po that upset everyone outside of Bologna.
He went to Ravenna to repair damage caused by rivers and to advise on planned diversions. He was called to Rome to advise on draining the Pontine Marches, and to the Val di Chiana and to Lucca on questions of hydraulics.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, Royal Society, Institute Bologna
1690, he founded his own scientific academy, the Accademia degli Inquieti, a private institution that became the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna in 1714.
Foreign member of the Académie (1726) and member of the Royal Society (1729).
He became a member of the Bologna "colony" of the Arcadia in 1699 and (as a literary figure) of the Accademia della Crusca in 1706.
Manfredi corresponded extensively with many of the leading mathematicians of Europe.
  1. B. Fontenelle, "Eloge de M. Manfredi," Histoire de l`Académie royale des sciences pour l'année 1739 (Amsterdam, 1743), 80- 96. [Q46.A16 1739]
  2. Henri Bedaride, "Eustachio Manfredi," Etudes italiennes 1928-1929, (Paris, 1930), 75-124. [PQ4001.E8]
  3. Hoefer, Nouvelle biographie générale, (Paris, 1857-66), 33, 198.
  4. Michaud, Biographie générale, 26, 336-7.
  5. G.P. Zanotti, "Vita dell'autore," in Manfredi, Rime, (Bologna, 1818), pp. v - xv. G. Fantuzzi, Notizie degli scittori bolognesi, (Bologna, 1781- 94), 5, 183-93.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. F.M. Zanotti, Elogio del dottor Eustachio Manfredi (Verona, 1739). G.P. Zanotti, Vita di Eustachio Manfredi (Bologna, 1745).
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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