Argoli, Andrea

views updated

Argoli, Andrea

(b. Tagliacozzo, Italy, 15 March 1570 [1568?]; d. Padua, Italy, 27 September 1657)

astrology, astronomy.

Andrea was the son of Octavio Argoli, a lawyer, and Caterina Mati; his own son, Giovanni (b. 1609), achieved considerable celebrity as a precocious poet.

From 1622 to 1627 Argoli held the chair of mathematics at the Sapienza in Rome; evidence suggests that he lost this post because of his enthusiasm for astrology. In 1632 he became professor of mathematics in Padua, where he spent the remainder of his life. If the reports that he studied with Magini and taught Albrecht Wallenstein astrology are correct, then he must also have been in Padua earlier, around 1600.

Argoli’s extensive astronomical ephemerides, based first on the Prutenic Tables (1620–1640) and later on his own tables (1630–1700), which were based on the observations of Tycho Brahe, gave a permanence to his reputation that his other writings would scarcely have achieved.

In his Astronomicorum (1629), Argoli proposed his own geocentric system of the world: the orbits of Mercury and Venus are centered on the sun but those of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are centered on the earth (in contradistinction to the Tychonic hypothesis). This scheme is essentially the same as that of Martianus Capella, with the addition of the rotation of the earth on its own axis. A communication to Galileo from F. Micanzio gives evidence that Argoli later planned a defense of Galileo’s Dialogi; but if the work was ever completed, it no longer survives.

In his Pandosion, Argoli devotes chapter 41 to an accurate and succinct exposition of Harvey’s doctrine of the circulation of the blood-without, however, mentioning Harvey’s name. His principal astrological text, De diebus criticis..., which concerned astrology in general and astrological medicine in particular, has been described by Thorndike.


I. Original Works. Argoli’s writings are Problemata astronomica (Rome, 1604); Tabulae primi mobilis (Rome, 1610; Padua, 1644, 1667); Ephemerides... ab anno 1621 ad 1640 ex Prutenicis tabulis supputatae (Rome, 1621; Venice, 1623); Novae caelestium motuum ephemerides... et anno 1620 ad 1640 (Rome, 1629), which includes Astronomicorum libri tres; Secundorum mobilium tabulae juxta Tychonis Brahe et novas e coelo deductas observationes (Padua, 1634, 1650); Ephemerides... juxta Tychonis Brahe hypotheses (for 1630–1680, Venice-padua, 1638; for 1631-1680, Padua, 1638, 1642)-the following editions, for 1641–1700, begin Exactissimae coelestium motuum and include the Astronomicorum libri tres (Padua, 1648, 1652; Lyons, 1659, 1677); De diebus criticis et de aegrorum decubitu libri duo (Padua, 1639, 1652); Pandosion sphaericum (Padua, 1644; 2nd ed., enl., 1653); Ptolemaus parvus in genethliacis junctus Arabibus (Padua-Lyons, 1652; Lyons, 1654, 1659, 1680); and Brevis dissertatio de cometa 1652. 1653 et aliqua de meteorologicis impressionibus (Padua, 1653).

II. Secondary Literature. The most complete modern treatment is M. Gliozzi, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, IV (Rome, 1964), 122–124. See also B.J.B. Delambre, Histoire de l’astronomie moderne, II (Paris, 1821), 514–517; R. P. Niceron, Mémoires pour servir a l’histoire des hommes illustres, XXXIX (Paris, 1738), 325–331; and Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, VII (New York, 1958), 122–124.

Owen Gingerich

About this article

Argoli, Andrea

Updated About content Print Article


Argoli, Andrea