bologna published naturalist died
ALDROVANDI, ULISSE, a celebrated naturalist, born of noble parentage at Bologna on the 11th Sept. 1522 (died 1607). While a boy he was page in the family of a rich bishop, and afterwards apprentice to a merchant in Brescia. Commercial pursuits soon became distasteful to him, and he turned his attention to law and medicine, studying first in his native town and afterwards at Padua. In 1550, having been accused of heresy, he was compelled to proceed to Rome in order to vindicate himself before the Inquisition, which gave him a conditional acquittal. In Rome he published his first work, a treatise on ancient statuary. Here he made the acquaintance of the eminent naturalist Rondelet, from whom it seems not unlikely that lie derived the impulse towards what became from that time his exclusive study. On his return to Bologna he devoted himself specially to botany, under the teaching of Lucas Ghino, then professor of that science at the university. In 1553 he took his doctor's degree in medicine, and in the following year he was appointed professor of philosophy and also lecturer on botany at the university. In 1560 he was transferred to the chair of natural history, which he continued to occupy until rendered infirm by age. At his instance the senate of Bologna established in 1568 a botanical garden, of which he was appointed the first director. He was also instrumental in founding the still existing public museum of Bologna, which contains, especially in the natural history department, a large number of specimens collected by Aldrovandi. To procure these it is believed that he visited personally most of the countries of Europe, though the details of his journeys have not been preserved. Some idea of the extent of his labours may be gathered from the fact that his herbarium occupied sixty large folio volumes. To the other offices held by Aldrovandi was added that of inspector of drugs, in which capacity he published in 1574 a work entitled Antidotarii Bononiensis Epitome, deserving of notice as furnishing the-model according to which nearly all subsequent pharmacopeias have been compiled.
The results of Aldrovandi's various researches were embodied in his magnum opus, which was designed on the most complete scale, so as to include everything that was known about natural history. The first three volumes, comprising his ornithology, were published. in 1599. Three more, treating of insects and mollusca, appeared during the author's lifetime. The seven volumes which completed the work were compiled from Aldrovandi's manuscript materials, under the editorship of several of his pupils, to whom the task was-entrusted by the senate of Bologna. The work was enriched by a large number of pictorial illustrations, prepared at great expense, the author having, it is said, employed several celebrated artists for thirty years. Among these were Lorenzo Benini of Florence and Christopher Coriolanus of Nuremberg. It has been said, indeed, that the cost of the undertaking was so great as to exhaust its author's means, and that he died penniless and blind in the public hospital of Bologna. This, however, is probably incorrect, at least as regards the allegation of poverty. Published records of the senate-of Bologna show that it liberally supported Aldrovandi in his under-. taking, doubling his salary soon after his appointment as professor.
and bestowing on him from time to time sums amounting in all to 40,000 crowns. If, therefore, he died in the public hospital, he probably went there for the better treatment of his disease. His death occurred on the 10th Nov. 1607.
Aldrovandi was chiefly remarkable for laborious and patient research. He seems to have been totally destitute of the critical faculty ; and hardly any attempt is made in his great work to classify _facts or to distinguish between the true and the fabulous, the important and the trivial. Much is thus included that is of no scientific value, but it also contains much information of very great interest to the naturalist.