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Spiegel, Adriaan van den [Spieghel, Spigelius, Spiegelius,

1. Dates
Born: Brussels, 1578
Died: Padua, 7 April 1625
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 47
2. Father
Occupation: Physician, Government Official
Same name, a surgeon and Inspector General of military and naval surgeons of the Dutch republic. The father died in 1600.
That certainly sounds affluent to me.
3. Nationality
Birth: Belgian
Career: Italy, Czechoslovakia
Death: Italy
4. Education
Schooling: Louvain, Leiden; Padua, M.D.
He studied at Louvain and Leiden and later at Padua, where he registered in 1601. There is no record of a degree from Padua, but it appears probable. Both Favaro and Biographie nationale speak exlicitly of a medical degree. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Calvinist, Catholic
Apparently initially a Calvinist. Converted to Catholicism.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Botany, Medicine, Anatomy
Subordinate: Embryology, Physiology
His first book was Isagoge in rem herbariam (1606)
He later published works on the tapeworm and on malaria.
He composed a great work on anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica, published posthumously in 1627.
He left behind a manuscript (also published posthumously) on embriology, De formatu foetu.
His works on anatomy are filled with passages on physiology.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Academia
Secondary: Government
1606, appointed physician to the students of the Germanic Nation in Padua. Apparently he assisted Fabrici in his private practice. There is documentary evidence that he practiced in Padua during both periods when he was there. Favaro indicates, from this evidence, that his practice was not extensive, however.
Spiegel left Padua in 1612. After a brief stay in Belgium he travelled through Germany and settled in Bohemia, where he was medicus primarius of Bohemia. Favaro renders this as protomedicus, that is, medical examiner, which was an official position.
1616, appointed to chair of anatomy and surgery at Padua. Spiegel earned enough to dower his daughter with 4,000 ducats, but Favaro indicates that he did not leave a large fortune, in contrast to some other physicians.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Aristrocrat
There was an illuminating episode near the beginning of Spiegel's career. Spiegel dedicated his first book (Isagoge) to the German nation in Padua. The officials of the nation wanted to give him a monetary gift, but were unable to do so for lack of fund.
In 1607, when a medical chair was vacated by death, the German nation (at Spiegel's request) recommended him to the Riformatori for the position. Clearly more influence than this was needed; Spiegel did not get the chair.
Fabricio, Spiegel's mentor, clearly had an important role in his career. Spiegel accompanied him as assistant when he went to Florence to treat a Medici prince and when he attended the wounded Sarpi. The terms of Spiegel's appointment in Padua, which mention what is reserved to Fabricio, seem to indicate clearly that Fabricio was one force behind his appointment.
However, the appointment was made on the nomination of the Venetian patrician, Giustiniani, Venetian ambassador to the emperor in Prague when Spiegel was there. Compare the outcome in 1616 with that in 1607. Again in 1623, when there were voices raised in opposition to Spiegel in Padua, Giustiniani, who had returned to Venice by then, intervened in his support, apparently decisively.
In 1623, Spiegel was elevated to the rank of Knight of San Marco.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Biographie nationale.
  2. Giuseppe Favaro, "Contributo alla biografia di A. Spigeli nel terzo centenario della sua morte (1625-1925)," Atti del Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 85, pt 2 (1925- 6), 213-52.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. M. Morren, "Adrien Spiegel," Revue de Bruxelles, 1 (1838), 51-79.
  2. Apparently this article evaluates his contribution to botany.
  3. J.B. Marinus, "Eloge de van den Spiegel," Bulletin de l'Academie Royale de Medicine, 5 (1846), 842-60.
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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