The Galileo Project
site map

Mattioli [Mattiolo], Pietro Andrea Gregorio [Pierandrea]

1. Dates
Born: Siena, 12 Mar. 1501 (if it matters, Cappelletti says 14 March))
Died: Trento, Jan/Feb 1577
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 76
2. Father
Occupation: Physician
His father, Francesco Mattioli, was a physician.
As always, I assume affluence.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian, Czechoslovakian, German
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: Padua, M.D.
He was sent to Padua to study Greek and Latin, astronomy, geometry, philosophy, but especially law. However, he turned there to medicine. He received a degree in medicine at the University of Padua in 1523. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
Later he studied surgery under Gregorio Caravita at Perugia. About 1520 he moved to Rome to continue his medical study. Capparoni puts the stay in Perugia and the move to Rome after the M.D., which makes eminent sense; without being explicit about dates, Cappelletti seems to place Perugia and Rome after the M.D. in the same way. However, the DSB, on what grounds I do not know, sounds quite definite about the dates.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine, Botany, Pharmacology
Subordinate: Geography
In 1544 he published Di Pedacio Dioscoride anazarbeo libri cinque, which through revisions and expansions, made him famous. It is a practical scientific treatise intended for daily use by physicians, herbalists, and others. Cappelletti insists that the commentary on Dioscorides is also the work of a dedicated student of botany. Before this he had published De morbi gallici curandi ratione, dialogus (Bologna, 1530), a traditional examination of the origins and treatment of syphilis (in which he was either the first or one of the first to recommend mercury as a cure), and later Epistola de bulbocastaneo (Prague, 1558), another work in botany. He published as well a series of writings on various medical subjects.
In 1558 he translated Ptolemy's Geography into Italian.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage
From 1520 (1523?) to 1527 he was in Rome, where he attended the Santo Spirito Hospital and the San Giacomo Xenodochium for incurables.
From 1528 to 1539 he practiced medicine in Trentino, and was physician to Cardinal Bernardo Clesio, bishop of Trento.
After Clesio's death in 1539, he moved to Gorizia to practice medicine. By now Mattioli had gained a considerable reputation as a physician.
In 1554 he was called to Prague, where he served first at the court of Ferdinand I and then at that of Maximilian II.
In 1570 he moved to Innsbruck in the Tyrol where he lived on his estate in retirement. He died on a visit to Trento.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Eccesiastic Official
During his stay in Trentino (1528-1539), he became an intimate friend, adviser, and physician to Cardinal Clesio, bishop of Trento, who developed a great esteem for him. Mattioli published an account, in poetry, of the Cardinal's palace, Il magno palazzo.
He was royal physician first at the court of Ferdinand I and then at that of Maximilian II. Ferdinand, who was an avid collector, while Archduke of Tyrol, influenced the publication of the commentary on Dioscorides. He employed illustrators to make the engravings, and later he arranged to have the work translated into Czech.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Medical Practice, Pharmacology, Chemistry
Mattioli wrote a short treatise on the method of distillation.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Mattioli was a friend of Ghini (with whom he exchanged plants) and of Gesner.
Stannard speaks of an extensive correspondence with other naturalists. His letters to Aldrovandi were published by Fantuzzi and Raimondi.
He also carried on acrimonious disputes with Anguillara and Lusitanus.
  1. Giovanni Battista de Toni, "Pierandrea Mattioli," in Aldo Mieli, ed., Gli scienziati italiani dall'inizio del medio evo ai giorni nostri, 1, (Rome, 1923), 382-7. Z7407.I8S4 P.A. Saccardo, "La botanica in Italia," Memorie del Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 26 (1895), 107, and 27 (1901), 71.
  2. Pietro Capparoni, Profili bio-bibliografici di medici e naturalisti celebri italiani dal sec. XV al sec. XVII, 2 vols. (Rome, 1925-28), 1, 45-7. 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.
  3. Jerry Stannard, "Pietro Andrea Mattioli: Sixteenth Century Commentator on Dioscorides," Bibliographical Contributions (Univ. of Kansas Library), (Lawrence, 1969), pp. 59-81.
  4. Dezeimeris, J.E. Ollivier and Raige-Delorme, Dictionnaire historique de la médecine ancienne et moderne, 4 vols. (Paris, 1828-39), 3, 541-3. The names, without first names or initials except for Ollivier, appear this way on volume 1; Dezeimeris alone appears on the remaining volumes.
  5. Vincenzo Cappelletti, "Nota sulla medicina umbra del Rinascimento: Pietro Andrea Mattioli," in Atti del IV Convegno di studi umbri, (Perugia: Faculta di lettere e filosofia dell'universita degli studi, 1967), pp. 513-32. Bruce Moran, "Patronage and Institutions: Courts, Universities, and Academies in Germany; an Overview: 1550-1750, in Moran, ed. Patronage ands Institutions: Science, Technologyu, and Medicine at the European Court, 1500-1750, (Rochester, NY, 1991), pp. 169-83 (on Mattioli, pp. 174-5).
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Giuseppe Fabiani, ed., La vita di Pietro Andrea Mattioli, ed. Luciano Banchi, (Siena, 1872). (I think this appeared originally in Fabiani, Memorie istoriche per servire alla vita di piu uomini illustri della Toscana, (Livorno, 1757).) D. Barduzzi, "Di Pier Andrea Mattioli Senese," Revista di storia delle scienze mediche e naturali, 13 (1922), 5-9.
  2. H. Leclerc, "Un naturaliste irascible: P.A. Mattioli de Sienne," Janus, 31 (1927), 336-45.
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.