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Bonaventura, Federigo

Bonaventura, Federigo

(b. Ancona, Italy, 24 August 1555; d. Urbino [?], Italy, March 1602)


Bonaventura was the son of Pietro Bonaventura, an officer in the army of the duke of Urbino and a poet, and of Leonora Landriani of Milan. Upon his father’s death in 1565 Federigo, supported by the duke of Urbino, went to Rome, where he was educated with Francesco Maria della Rover at the age of eighteen he returned to Urbino. Following the accession of Duke Francesco Maria II in 1574, Federico met with even greater favor. He continued his studies at Urbino, Particularly Greek mathematics and natural philosophy. In addition to his scholarly activities, Bonaventura served as Urbino’s ambassador to several European courts,. His marriage to Pantasilea, countess of Carpegna, in 1577 produced twelve children, including Pietro, who became bishop of Cesena, and Francesco Maria, who wrote several literary works.

Bonaventura’s most important scientific writings deal with meteorology. As yet they have not been carefully studied, nor has their significance in sixteenthy-century meteorological thought been determined. They include De causa ventorum motus (1592), in which he argues, in opposition to many later interpreters, that there is no basic disagreement between the theory of winds of Aristotle and that of Theophrastus; Pro Thepohrasto atque Alexandra Aphrodisiensi… apologia (1592), in which he again attempts to defend the ancient Peripatetic meteorological theories against such modern interpreters as Francesco Vimercato; Anemologiae pars prior (1593), which is essentially a Latin translation of Theophrasyus’l; De ventis and De signis, with long and detailed commentaries on the two works; and Quomodo calor a sole corporibus coelestibus producasture secundum Aristoletelm (1627), in which he argues that Aristotle held that the sun’s heat is transferred to other bodies through motion, rather than through light.

All of Bonaventura’s writings on meteorology are marked by an attempt to determine the precise meaning of the ancient texts through Phiological techniques, with apparently little effort being made to utilize experience and observation to verify their truth. He also wrote on medical subjects (especially De nature parts octomestris [1596] and political philosophy, and translated into Latin works of Themistius and of Ptolemy (Inerrantium stellarum apparitions ac significatioum collectio [1592]).


I. Original Works. Lists of Bonaventura’s published works are available in Mazzuchelli, Narducci, and Vecchietti (see below). See also the following MSS: Bibliotheca Ambrosianan, Milan, Q. 118 sup., and S. 87 sup,; Biblioteca Oliveriana, Pesaro, 1494, 1500, 1503, 1509; and Vat. urb. lat. 1333, 1349. Among his Published works are De causa ventorum motus (Urbino, 1592; Venice, 1594); Inerrantium stellarum appartiones ac significationum collection (Urbin, 1592), a Latin translation of the work by Ptolemy, with a long commentary; Pro Theopharasto atque Alexandro Aphrodisiensi….apologia (Urbino, 1592; repr. Venice, 1594); Anemologica pare prior (Urbino, 1593), repr. as Meteorologicae affectiones (Venice, 1594); De natura partus octomestris (Urbino, 1596, 1600; Frankfurt, 1601, 1612; Venice, 1602); and a collection of Opuscula (Urbino, 1627) which contains, among others, Quomodo calor a sole corporibus coelestibus producatur secundum Aristotelem.

II. Secondary Literature. Writings on Bonaventura or his work are Giammaria Mazzuchelli, Gil scrittori d’Italia, II (Brescia, 1760), 1563–1564; M. Michaud, Biographie universelle, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1880), IV, 687; Enrico Narducci, Giunt all’opera… del… Mazzuchelli (Rome, 1894), p. 95; and P. Vecchietti and T. Vecchietti, Bibliotecapicena, III (Osimo, 1796), 1–6.

see also Degli uomini illustri di Urbino commentario del P. Carlo Grossi con aggiunte scritte dal conte Pompeo Gherardi (Urbino, 1856), pp. 72–78.

Charles B. Schmitt

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