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MAZZOTTA, Benedetto.

(1613? – ?)

(Born:      ; Died:      ) Italian theologian & philosopher.

Biographical references: ABI: I 641, 264-266. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51. WBI.

1. Latin, 1653.
R.P.D. Benedictvs | Mazzotta Licyensis | A Novoli | Congregationis Cœlestinorum Ordinis Sancti Benedicti | Bononiæ Philos. ac S. Theol. Lector. | De Triplici Philosophia | Naturali, Astrologica, Et Minerali. | In Qvibvs | Differit cohærenter de Elementis, & varijs mixtorum proprietatibus. Possibilitate corporis | physici cpmpleti non compositi. Productione Mundi temporanea, & eius possibilitate | ab æterno. Compositione continui ex solis indivisibilibus finitis, & probaliter ex in- | flatis. Productione substantiæ. Infinito. Intensione. Rarefactione, & condensatione. De | modo formandi veros colores Lapidum pretiosorum. Specula ustoria, & præparandi | lapidem luminosum. De metheoris omnibus. Metallorum natura, & transmutatione, | rebusqz mineralibus, aliiq[Old Z]; arcanis Chymicis. Effectibus Planetarum iuxta varias eo- | rum configurationes, Eclipsibus, & magnis Coniunctionibus, alijsque causis cœlestibus, | & nouis, præter communes, Planetarum aspectibus, & eorum significatis; alijsqz quæsti- | onibus Naturalibus, Astrologicis, & Mineralibus. | Opvs | Theol. Philos. Medicis, Chymicis, & Astrologis iucundum, ac simul vtile. | [ornament] | Bologna, Io. Baptista Ferroni, 1653. Superiorum permissu.

4°: [a]5 A-R4 S6, A-Ll4; 80l.+136l.; [10], 1-148, 1-272 p., frontispiece, one engraved plate (showing a marble pillar with cherub on top and an astrological diagram), a few text illus. There is a large allegorical woodcut of the requisites of natural scientists and alchemists on title, and a richly engraved allegorical frontispiece with flying cherubs and little naked children paying honour to the tree of knowledge comprising the coat of arms of Bologna, signed Il Coriolano, some astronomical woodcut figures and engravings in text, full-page engraved plate with illustrations of celestial fire, some woodcut tables, one full-page, of the signs of the Zodiac and numerous small astrological signs in text in the last part. Colophon: (p. 272) dated 13 September 1653. Page size: 198 x 142 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Half title page, "Mazzotta | De Triplici Philosophia | Natvralli, Astrologica, | Et Minerali," verso blank.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs], Dedication to Hipolyto Cattaneo, signed Benedictus Mazzottta MCL (=1650).; [1 pg], "Lectori Benevolo."; [1 pg], "Stimvlatvr Avthor | ad Opus hoc prælo dandum."; [1 pg], "D. Hilarius Spighius Romanus Abbas ..." (=recommendations).; [1 pg], "Index."; 1-148, Text.; 1-272, Text.; [At end], one folding plate.

Very rare. Apparantly the sole edition published of an interesting work on natural philosophy by Benedetto Mazzota, professor of theology at the University of Bologna and member of the Benedictine Order. The first part contains a survey of meteorology as it was known at the time of the writer, with particular attention being given to comets and meteors. The second part contains a description of minerals and metals (pp. 153-208) and is partly alchemical while the last portion deals with astrology.Mazzotta still belonged to the Old School of Bologna scientists, speculating on the powers of the elements, the planets and precious stones, and believing that the earth remained immobile at the centre of the universe "against what Copernicus said and the Church condemned." The work beautifully illustrates scientific knowledge at the threshold of modern science, which would increasingly be based on experiments rather than on philosophic speculation. Mazzotta defended fire as an element, and although in this connection he held that comets could well pass through the sphere of fire and be elevated above the moon, he still regarded them as terrestrial exhalations and held elsewhere that many of them remained below the moon. He opposed those who contended that heat and cold were not distinct qualities. He admitted that earth and water formed a single globe, but affirmed that "no fixed truth" had yet been reached with regard to the tides, although he inclined to ascribe them to the moon with the concurrence of the sun and stars. Earlier however, he had stated that the flux and reflux was also caused by angelic movers of water. Although a theologian, he continued the favourable attitude towards astrology which had so long prevailed in Bologna. He urged his readers to pay careful attention to the annual prognostications, given by Ovidius Montelbanus, Gassius, Grimaldi, and others, and he still believed that through centuries past the stars had produced memorable changes in the air and the world. He sees eclipses, conjunctions and comets as divine oracles. He grants there are popular impostors in astrology, but astrological philosophy is treated at length, with chapters on all points to be considered before making a prediction. Comets especially are seen as signs of great events, and the author makes a prognostication for 1652-1653 based on the comet seen from December 17, 1652 to January 12, 1653. And at the end he gives forty general astrological aphorisms. The work seems to have escaped the attention of both alchemist and scientist, historians and collectors, probably because it was only published once, closing the alchemist era, and half-heartedly entering modern science.

Bartolomeo Coriolano. (Born: 1599; Died: 1676) Italian artist & engraver. Of special interest are the engraved plates by Bartolomeo Coriolano (1599-1676), a pupil of his father Giovanni Battista Coriolano, who died in 1649, and of Guido Reni. He was especially gifted as draughtsman and engraver.

Bibliographical references: BL [537.b.8.(1.)]. Caillet, Manuel, 1912 [no copy listed]. Harvey, History of Luminescence, 1957: p. 315 ["devoted a short paragraph to the Bolognian phosphor in his book..."]. Riccardi, Biblioteca Mathematica Italiana, 1893: 1, 2, pp. 144-5. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993 [no copy listed]. Thorndike, History of Magic, 1923-58: 7, 643-6. (Coriolano) ABI: I 319, 311-323; II S 23, 319. Nagler, Neues allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon, 1835-52. Thieme & Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon, 1907-50: 7, 415. WBI.