A Previously Unknown Path to Corpuscularism in the Seventeenth Century: Santorio’s Marginalia to the Commentaria in Primam Fen Primi Libri Canonis Avicennae (1625)
Taylor and Francis (Routledge)
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This paper presents some of Santorio’s marginalia to his Commentaria in primam fen primi libri Canonis Avicennae (Venice, 1625), which I identified in the Sloane Collection of the British Library in 2016, as well as the evidence for their authorship. The name of the Venetian physician Santorio Santori (1561–1636) is linked with the introduction of quantification in medicine and with the invention of precision instruments that, displayed for the first time in this work, laid down the foundations for what we today understand as evidence-based medicine. But Santorio’s monumentale opus also contains evidence of many quantified experiments and displays his ideas on mixtures, structure of matter and corpuscles, which are in many cases clarified and completed by the new marginalia. These ideas testify to an early interest in chemistry within the Medical School of Padua which predates both Galileo and Sennert and which has hitherto been unknown.
The discovery of Santorio’s marginalia arises from my research into the life, works, and scientific legacy of Santorio Santori as part of a major project funded in 2015 by theWellcome Trust on the Emergence of Quantifying Procedures in Medicine at the End of the Renaissance [106580/Z/14/Z]. A complete English edition of Santorio’s notes along with a full discussion of their content will be presented in 2017 during the international conference, Humours, Mixtures and Corpuscles: A Medical Path to Corpuscularism in the Seventeenth Century organised by myself and Jonathan Barry, and supported by (among other organisations) the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC). The edition will be published in the conference proceedings.
This is the final version of the article. Freely available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 1, 2017, pp. 1 - 14