Colomna, Fabio

, an eminent botanist, was born at Naples in 1567, the son of Jerome, who was the natural son of the cardinal Pompeio Colonna. He devoted himself from his youth to the pursuit of natural history, and particularly to that of plants, which he studied in the writings of the ancients; and, by indefatigable application, was enabled to correct the errata with which the | manuscripts of those authors abounded. The languages, music, mathematics, drawing, painting, optics, the civil and canon law, filled up the moments which he did not bestow on botany, and the works he published in this last science were considered as master-pieces previous to the appearance of the labours of the latter botanists. He wrote, 1. “Plantarum aliquot ac piscium historia,1592, 4to, with plates, as some say, by the author himself, executed with much exactness. The edition of Milan, 1744, 4to, is not so valuable as the former. 2. “Minus cognitarum rariorumque stirpium descriptio; itemque de aquatilibus, aliisque nonnullis animalibus libellus,Rome, 1616, two parts in 4to. This work, which may be considered as a sequel to the foregoing, was received with equal approbation. The author, in describing several singular plants, compares them with the descriptions of them both by the ancients and moderns, which affords him frequently an opportunity of opposing the opinions of Matthiolo, Dioscorides, Theophrastus, Pliny, &c. He published a second part, at the solicitation of the duke of Aqua-Sparta, who had been much pleased with the former. The impression, was entrusted to the printer of the academy of the Lyncasi, a society of literati, formed by that duke, and principally employed in the study of natural history. This society, which subsisted only till 1630, that is, till the death of its illustrious patron, was the model on which all the others in Europe were formed. Galileo, Porta, Achillini, and Colonna, were some of its ornaments. 3. “A Dissertation on the Glossopetrae,” in Latin, to be found with a work of Augustine Sciila, on marine substances, Rome, 1647, 4to. 4. He was concerned in the American plants of Hernandez, Rome, 1651, fol. fig. 5. A Dissertation on the Porpura, in Latin; a piece much esteemed, but become scarce, was reprinted at Kiel, 1675, 4to, with notes by Daniel Major, a German physician. The first edition is of 1616, 4to. 1


Dict. Hist.Moreri.—Haller Bibl. Botan.—Clement Bibl. Curieuse.