Ancient Pneumatics Transformed during the Early Modern Period

in Nuncius
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

The paper aims to show how sixteenth century hydraulic and pneumatic engineers appropriated ancient science and technology – codified in the text of Hero of Alexandria’s Pneumatics – to enter into scientific discourse, for instance, with natural philosophers. They drew on the logical structure, content and narrative style passed down from antiquity to generate and codify their own theoretical approach and to document their new technological achievements. They did so by using the form of commented and enlarged editions, just as Aristotelian natural philosophers had been doing for centuries. The argument aims to detail the exact role of ancient science and the process of transformation it underwent during the early modern period. In particular, it aims to show how pneumatic engineers first tested the ancient technology codified by Hero while carrying out their own practical activities. Once these tests were successfully concluded, in the spirit of early modern humanism they finally presented these activities as being associated with the work of their discipline’s most authoritative author, Hero of Alexandria, whose technology was tested during the construction of the hydraulic and pneumatic system of the garden of Pratolino.

Ancient Pneumatics Transformed during the Early Modern Period

in Nuncius

Sections

References

12

Ibid. (cit. note 8) p. 8.

13

Ibid. (cit. note 8) p. 10.

16

Aristotle and W.D. RossAristotle’s Physics (Oxford: Clarendon Press1960) 216b22.

24

Alessandro GiorgiSpiritali di Herrone alessandrino (Urbino: Appressso Bartholomeo e Simone Rag1592). Alessandrino Giorgi requested and obtained permission to work with the same printer who had arranged the publication of Commandino’s translation and re-used the same engravings.

26

Hero of Alexandria et al.Della natura del voto di Erone Alessandrino. Volgarizzamento inedito di Bernardo Davanzati (Roma: Tipografia delle Belle Arti1863).

27

Vanoccio BiringuccioDe la pirotechnia (Venetia: Rossinello, 1540; reprint, edited by Adriano Carugo, Edizioni Il Polifilo, Milano1977).

35

Eugenio BattistiL’antirinascimento: con un’appendice di testi inediti1. ed. Strumenti di studio (Milano: Garzanti 1989) pp. 266–277.

45

Massimo Mussini“Governo delle acque nel territorio reggiano fra Medioevo e Rinascimento,” in La civiltà delle acque dal Medioevo al Rinascimentoedited by Arturo Calzona and Daniela Lamberini (Firenze: Olschki 2010) pp. 221–241.

53

Cesare da PratoFirenze ai Demidoff. Pratolino e S. Donato. Relazione storica e descrittiva preceduta da cenni biografici sui Demidoff (Firenze: Tipografia della Pia Casa di Patronato per minorenni1886) pp. 260–261. Stefano della Bella produced an engraving of the Grotto of the God Pan: see Sgrilli Descrizione della regia villa fontane e fabbriche di Pratolino (cit. note 48) unnumbered table.

84

See also A.G. Keller“Pneumatics, Automata and the Vacuum in the Work of Giambattista Aleotti,” The British Journal for the History of Science1967 3:12 pp. 338–347.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Figure 1

    Heinrich Schickhardt’s drawing of a cuckoo machine built in the garden of Pratolino. From Heinrich Schickhardt, Zweite italienische Reise, Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod. hist. qt. 148, Bl. 52r.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 2

    Sketch of the pneumatic apparatus of the hydraulic organ of the Mount Parnassus at Pratolino. Heinrich Schickhardt, Zweite italienische Reise, Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod. hist. qt. 148, Bl. 53r.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 3

    Federico Commandino’s interpretation of Hero’s description of a hydraulic organ. From Federico Commandino, Heronis Alexandrini Spiritalium liber, Urbino, 1575, Prop. 55, pp. 76–77 (sometimes marked as p. 70 due to incorrect page numbering). Courtesy of the Library of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 4

    Giovanni Guerra, Prospettiva della Grotta della Samaritana, 1598, Architektur, Graphische Sammlung, Albertina, Vienna. no. 37214 (www.albertina.at).

  • View in gallery
    Figure 5

    Forge of Vulcan. Ludovico Buti, 1579–1581, Fresco, Palazzo degli Uffizi, Florence, Room 23. Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e della attività culturali e del turismo. Reproduced with permission of the copy right owner.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 6

    Giulio Parigi’s drawing of an automata representing the Forge of Vulcan. End of the sixteenth century. Pen and watercolors. 37,3×26,7cm. Gabinetto di Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence, 588277. Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e della attività culturali e del turismo. Reproduced with permission of the copy right owner.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 7

    Machines of the Grotto of the Samaritan. Giovanni Guerra, Architektur, Graphische Sammlung, Albertina, Vienna, 1598, no. 37221v (www.albertina.de).

  • View in gallery
    Figure 8

    Giovan Battista Aleotti’s pneumatic automata of the Forge. From Hero of Alexandria and Aleotti, Gli artifitiosi et curiosi moti spiritali di Herrone, p. 93. Courtesy of the Library of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 37 37 20
Full Text Views 63 63 49
PDF Downloads 10 10 8
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0