Antonio Magliabechi wrote Letter L-238 of sometime before 1694-03-02 to Leeuwenhoek about recent books that he thought might be of interest

March 2, 1694

No manuscript is known.

A venerable very learned gentleman sends L. a printed summary of a book by an Italian priest who is a proponent of Aristotle’s theory spontaneous generation and is very eager to learn more about L.’s observations. He encloses news about recently published and forthcoming books by Carlo Fontana, Francesco Lorenzo Brancati di Lauria, Ercole Mattioli, Andrea Pozzo, and Bernardo Giustiniano.

What is known about the other parts of the present letter comes from L.’s reference to it in two later letters to the Royal Society. Letter L-239 of 2 March 1694

I have had sent to me the summary of a book printed at Rome and edited by Father Philippus Bonnanius S.J., in which the latter maintains that animate beings spring from inanimate beings, such as shellfish from mud, and also little animals from water, flowers, fish, and rotten flesh.

Letter 137 [83] L-242 of 30 April 1694

On the 2nd of March last I sent Your Honours a copy of a summary of a certain book, printed in Rome, the author of which is the very learned Mr. Philippo Bonanni, a priest of the Society of Jesus, who maintains that little animals can spring from inanimate matter without generation, according to Aristotle’s theory.

The venerable very learned gentleman who sent me the printed sheet writes to me that there is no one in Rome who is so anxious to see my observations as Mr. Bonanni. I would say the same with regard to Mr. Bonanni’s observations.

The “venerable very learned gentleman” is Antonio Magliabechi, who beginning with Letter L-172 of 16 March 1686, in this volume, began an exchange of letters with L. that would last through the first decade of the 1700s. See that letter for an overview of their correspondence..

The book by Bonanni is Observationes circa viventia, quae in rebus non viventibus reperiuntur (Observations on living creatures, which are found in non-living things) published in Rome, 1691.

The report of the first four of these books was also published in Journal des Scavans, vol. 23 for 21 February 1695, p. 143, as Extrait d’une letre ecrite de Florence (Extract from a letter written from Florence). It is there dated 19 November 1694.

Magliabechi’s previous letter to L. is Letter L-219 of 24 June 1692, in this volume. L. did not reply to it before receiving the present letter almost two years later, to which he replied with Letter 153 L-266 of 16 August 1695. Magliabechi’s next letter is Letter L-272 of 12 October 1695.


A. Magliabechi, 1695: “Italiaansch Boek-nieuws”, De Boekzaal van Europe, March and April 1695, pp. 359-60. – Dutch translation of part of the original Latin and Italian.

Letter L-238 of sometime before 2 March 1694

Italian Booknews.


Il Tempio Vaticano, e sua origine con gli edificii piu conspicui, antichi e moderni fatti dentro & fuori di esso. Descritto dal Cavaliere Carlo Fontana, Ministro del detto famoso Tempio ed Architecto &c.

Dat is,

The Vatican Temple, containing its origin and most excellent buildings, old as well as new, made inside and outside. Described by the Knight Karel Fontana[1], administrator and architect of the famous Temples mentioned. At Rome 1694. in fol.


Index Alphabeticus rerum & locorum omnium memorabilium ad annales Cardinalis Baronii. Opus postumum eminentissimi Cardinalis de Laurea.

Dat is,

A register, according to the alphabet, of all the memorable things and places, in the annals of Cardinal Baronius. A work by the eminent Cardinal de Laurea[2], published after his death, also printed in Roome 1694. in fol.


La pieta illustrata, Academie Sacre dove s’erudisee in ordine ad essa un giovane nobile &c. Opera del Padre Er. Matioli, della Comp. die Giesu.

Dat is,

Piety illustrated, or the Holy Academy, where a noble youth is taught about it, by the Father Er. Matioli[3], Jesuit. At Parma 1694. In 4.


Yet to be published in Rome,

Perspectiva Pictorum & Architectorum Andrea Putei, e Soc. Jesu. Pars prima. In qua docetur modus expeditissimus delineandi optice omnia qua pertinent ad Architecturam.

Dat is,

The Skill of Painters and Architects, described by Andries Puteus[4] Jesuit. The first part, in which the scholar is given the most expeditious way of optically delineating all that pertains to architecture. In Fol.


One awaits from Venice the Italian work printed there by the Abbot and Knight Bernardo Giustiniano[5], titled; chronological history of the origin of the religious orders of war. etc. in fol.


[1] Carlo Fontana (1634-1714) was an Italian architect who, at the request of Pope Innocent XI, wrote an historical description of the Vatican that included his project for completing St. Peter’s. See also Letter L-332 of late 1697 or early 1698, in this volume, for Magliabechi’s next mention of a book by Fontana.

[2] Francesco Lorenzo Brancati di Lauria (1612-1693) was an Italian cardinal who wrote books on theology and asceticism. Cesare Baronio (1538-1607) was an Italian cardinal and historian who wrote Annales Ecclesiastici (Ecclesiastical Annals), a history of the first 12 centuries of the Church, which appeared in 12 folio volumes between 1588 and 1607.

[3] Ercole Mattioli (1622-1710) was an Italian Jesuit.

[4] Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709; also Andreas Puteus) was an Italian Jesuit who was also a painter, architect, and stage designer. His Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum, published in 2 volumes in 1693 and 1698, explained his techniques of painting architectural perspectives and stage-sets.

[5] Bernardo Giustiniano (1408-1489) was a politician and diplomat from Venice. The book noted here is an expanded second edition of 1672’s Historie Cronologiche della Vera Origine di Tutti gl’Ordini Equestri, e Religioni Cavalleresche (Chronological Histories of the True Origin of All Equestrian Orders, and Knightly Religions).