Lancisi, Baglivi and the Medical Academies in Rome

Luciana Rita Angeletti


Many medical academies were active in Rome during the 17th century; they were promoted by noble patrons, ecclesiastics or eminent physicians, and equipped with libraries. Their role was important in the spreading of the new biomedical thought, founded on the comparison between ideas and experimental data. 

As an epistemological heritage of Marcello Malpighi and as a connection to the new scientific european ideas, Baglivi directed his efforts towards a leading role of the experimental observations, whereas his predecessor Lancisi was bound to the theorical "ipse dixit" role of the masters of medicine. The analysis of the statutes of the Roman Academies bring to light the new experimentalism, due to the " virtuosi" and "curiosoni" of the Academies: Baglivi, in his De praxi medica, invites the princes to establish in every Metropolitan Hospital an Academy - Medicorum Collegium, in which discussion on clinical aspects shold be performed: extraordinary importance is devoted to the epistemological difference between "experientia" ( guided in the profession by a membrum- literatum, thought the direct comparison on the texts) and "experimentum" ( following the clinical observation, guided by a membrum historicum-praticum). 


Key words: Lancisi - Baglivi - Medical Academies 

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