Pacchioni, Antonio

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(b. Reggio nell’ Emilia, Italy, 13 June 1665; d. Rome, Italy, 5 November 1726)


Pacchioni studied in his native town and obtained his degree in medicine on 25 April 1688. In 1689 he moved to Rome, where at first he attended the Santo Spirito hospital. He was assistant physician at the Ospedale della Consolazione from 26 May 1690 to 3 June 1693, and then remained for six years in Tivoli as the town doctor. In 1699 Pacchioni returned to Rome and established a successful medical practice; he later became head doctor at the Hospital of San Giovanni in Laterano and then at the Ospedale della Consolazione. Interested in anatomy, he was guided by Malpighi (who lived in Rome from 1691 to 1694) and collaborated with Lancisi.

Among Pacchioni’s dissertations, from 1701 on, dealing with the structure and functions of the dura mater, the Dissertatio epistolaris de glandulis conglobatis durae mening is humanae (1705) is particularly well known and contains his description of the arachnoidal, or so-called Pacchioni, granulations. Pacchioni attributed to these bodies the faculty of secreting lymph for lubricating the sliding movement between the meninges and the brain. He believed that the contraction of the dura mater, then considered to be muscular in nature, served to compress the glands, which, according to Malpighi’s doctrine, constituted the cerebral cortex. Pacchioni also collaborated with Lancisi on the explanatory text to Eustachi’s Tabulae anatomicae (1714).


I. Original Works. Pacchioni’s principal work is Dissertatio epistolaris de glandulis conglobatis durae meningis humanae, indeque ortis lymphaticis ad piam meningem productis (Rome, 1705), reprinted in his Opera (Rome, 1741).

II. Secondary Literature. On Pacchioni and his work, see Enrico Benassi, “Carteggi inediti fra il Lancisi, il Pacchioni ed il Morgagni,” in Rivista di storia delle scienze mediche e naturali,23 (1932), 145–169; Maria Bertolani del Rio, “Antonio Pacchioni 1665–1726,” in Luigi Barchi, ed., Medici e naturalisti Reggiani (Reggio nell’ Emilia, 1935), 659–667; Pietro Capparoni, “Lo stato di servizio di Antonio Pacchioni all’Ospedale della Consolazione in Roma ed un suo medaglione onorario,” in Rivista di storia critica delle scienze mediche e naturali,2 (1914), 241–245; Jacopo Chiappelli, “Notizie intorno alla vita di Antonio Pacchioni da Reggio,” in Raccolta d’opuscoli scientifici e filologici,3 (1730), 79–102; and Girolamo Tiraboschi, Biblioteca Modenese, III (Modena, 1783), 415–419.

Luigi Belloni