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Patrizi [Patrizzi, Patricio, Patricius], Francesco

1. Dates
Born: Cherso, Istria, 25 Apr. 1529
Died: Rome, 7 Feb. 1597
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 68
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown, Soldier
His father, who is not identified, died in 1551. Patrizi spent his boyhood as a companion of a paternal uncle on military campaigns.
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian, Spanish
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: Ingolstadt, Padua
He studied at Ingolstadt, and at the University of Padua (1547-1554). There is no mention of a degree.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
Though frequently in trouble with a Inquisition, and utterly condemned after his death, Patrizi thought of himself as a Catholic and indeed was one.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics, Natural Philosophy
His importance in the history of science rests primarily on his highly original views concerning the nature of space, which have striking similarities to those later developed by Henry More and Isaac Newton. His position was first set out in De rerum natura libri II priores, alter de spacio physico, alter de spacio mathematico (Ferrara, 1587) and was later revised and incorporated into his Nova de universis philosophia (Ferrara, 1591).
He wrote Della nuova geometria, a sort of philosophy of geometry. For him, mathematics was logically prior to physical science.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Patronage, Academia
He was in the service of various noblemen in Rome and Venice, and then lived for a time at Modena and at Ferrara. He apparently spent a fair bit of time in Cyprus and other parts of the Venetian empire in the Near East, and later (also in the service of some noble) he was in Spain for a time.
1578-92, held a personal chair of Platonic philosophy at the University of Ferrara.
1592-7, professor in Rome.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristrocrat, Court Official, Eccesiastic Official
When family quarrels forced him to leave home, he found a patron in Venice, Count Zaffo.
Filippo Mocenigo, Archbishop of Cyprus, was his patron after Zaffo. Patrizi dedicated his Discussiones peripatetica to Mocenigo's nephew.
In the service of various noblemen of Venice and Rome he made several trips to the east and to Spain.
Patrizi was trying to gain the patronage of the Este family before 1578. In 1558 he wrote a poem, Eridano, in prise of the family and dedicated to Card. d'Este. This bore fruit only later.
Duke Alfonso II d'Este appointed him to a personal chair of Platonic philosophy at the University of Ferrara in 1578. He remained there until 1592.
In 1591 Patrizi undertook to gain an appointment in Rome by dedicating various parts of his Nova philosophia to Gregory XIV and several prominent Cardinals--part of Panarchia (which itself is part of the Nova philosophia) to Card. Paleotti, another part of Panarchia to Card. Lauro of Monreale, Zoroaster to Card. Cajetano, and another part of the work to Card. Aldobrandini. Aldobrandini became Clement VIII the following year.
Pope Clement VIII summoned Patrizi to a professorship in Rome, a post he held until his death. When the Inquisition wanted to condemn him, Clement kept him on at the Sapienza, even after the Nova philosophia was put on the Index. And after Patrizi's death the Pope gave him burial in San' Onofrio in Rome.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Hydraulics
For Count Zaffo Patrizi reclaimed a marsh. Later, while he was in Ferrara, he developed a plan to divert the Reno in order to spare Ferrara flooding.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. P.O. Kristeller, Eight philosophers of the Italian Renaissance, (Stanford, 1964), ch.7. B776.I8K92 B. Brickman, An Introduction to Francesco Patrizi's Nova de universis philosophia, (New York, 1941).
  2. G. Saitta, Il pensiero italiano nell'umanesimo e nel rinascimento, 2 vols. (Firenze, 1961), 2, Chap. 9. B3551.
  3. S16.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Lega Nazionale di Trieste, Onoranze a Francesco Patrizi da Cherso: Catalogo della mostra bibliografica, (Trieste, 1957).
  2. F. Walkhoff, F. Patrizis Leben und Werk, (Bonn, 1920).
  3. P. Donazzolo, "Francesco Patrizio di Cherso erudito del secolo XVI," Atti e memorie della societa istriana di archeologia e storia patria, 28 (1912), 1-147.
  4. A. Solerti "Autobiografia di Francesco Patricio di Cherso," Archivio storico per Trieste, l'Istria, e il Tretino, 3 (1884- 6), 275-81. L. Firpo, "Filosofia italiana e controriforma," Rivista di Filosofia, 41 (1950), 150-73, and 42 (1951), 30-47.
  5. G. Tiraboschi, Storia della letteratura italiano, 7.1 (Rome, 1784), 402-9, 468.
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
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