The Science of Naples

Making knowledge in Italy’s pre-eminent city, 1500-1800

Edited by Lorenza Gianfrancesco and Neil Tarrant


ISBN: 9781800086753

Publication: June 24, 2024

Long neglected in the history of Renaissance and early modern Europe, in recent years scholars have revised received understanding of the political and economic significance of the city of Naples and its rich artistic, musical and political culture. Its importance in the history of science, however, has remained relatively unknown.

The Science of Naples provides the first dedicated study of Neapolitan scientific culture in the English language. Drawing on contributions from leading experts in the field, this volume presents a series of studies that demonstrate Neapolitans’ manifold contributions to European scientific culture in the early modern period and considers the importance of the city, its institutions and surrounding territories for the production of new knowledge.

Individual chapters demonstrate the extent to which Neapolitan scholars and academies contributed to debates within the Republic of Letters that continued until deep into the nineteenth century. They also show how studies of Neapolitan natural disasters yielded unique insights that contributed to the development of fields such as medicine and earth sciences. Taken together, these studies resituate the city of Naples as an integral part of an increasingly globalised scientific culture, and present a rich and engaging portrait of the individuals who lived, worked and made scientific knowledge there.

Lorenza Gianfrancesco is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, University of Chichester.

Neil Tarrant is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History, University of Leeds.

List of figures
List of contributors

The science of early modern Naples: a missing city?

Part I: Neapolitan science and its institutions

1 ‘Attenta cura a mille bei secreti di natura': Ferrante Imperato’s collection between scientific specimens and natural marvels’
Daniela Caracciolo

2 Political science in the Settecento University of Naples
Felix Waldmann

Part II: Environment, disaster and disease in the Bay of Naples

3 Giambattista Della Porta’s De aëris transmutationibus: natural philosophy and the Earth sciences
Alfonso Paolella

4 ‘Miserable land, burnt by fire and submerged in water’: the 1631 eruption of Vesuvius’
Lorenza Gianfrancesco

5 Some effects of the plague on medicine in Naples: the choices and dialogue among the novatores
Silvana D’Alessio

Part III: Naples and the early modern world

6 Kunst- und Naturalien-Kammern of seventeenth-century Naples: Johann Daniel Major’s view from Germany
James Clifton

7 Chinese medicine as a mirror of Neapolitan experimentalism: A case study of Parere (1681) by Leonardo di Capua (1617–1695)
Daniel Canaris

8 Courtly exchange between Bourbon Naples and Hanoverian London after the French Revolution: culture, chemistry and the Herculaneum papyri
Frank A.J.L. James

Part IV: Neapolitan history in the present age

9 ‘The art of healing, healing through art': art, medicine and science at the Hospital of the Incurables of Naples
Gennaro Rispoli


Format: Hardback

Size: 234 × 156 × 24 mm

290 Pages

27 colour photo/halftones

Copyright: © 2024

ISBN: 9781800086753

Publication: June 24, 2024

Scroll to top