Borelli, John Alphonso

, a celebrated philosopher and mathematician, was born at Naples the 28th of January, 1608. He was professor of philosophy and mathematics in some of the most celebrated universities of Italy, particularly at Florence and Pisa, where he became highly in favour with the princes of the house of Medici. But having been concerned in the revolt of Messina, he was obliged to retire to Rome, where he spent the remainder of his life under the protection of Christina queen of Sweden, who honoured him with her friendship, and by her liberality towards him softened the rigour of his hard fortune. He continued two years in the convent of the regular clergy of St. Pantaleon, called the Pious Schools, where | he instructed the youth in mathematical studies. And thi’s study he prosecuted with great diligence for many years afterward, as appears by his correspondence with several ingenious mathematicians of his time, and the frequent mention that has been made of him by others, who have endeavoured to do justice to his memory. He wrote a letter to Mr. John Collins, in which he discovers his great desire and endeavours to promote the improvement of those sciences: he also speaks of his correspondence with, and great affection for, Mr. Henry Oldenburgh, secretary of the royal society; of Dr. Wallis; of the then late learned Mr. Boyle, and lamented the loss sustained by his death to the commonwealth of learning. Mr. Baxter, in his “Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul 3” makes frequent use of our author’s book “De Motu Animalium,” and tells us, that he was the first who discovered that the force exerted within the body prodigiously exceeds the weight to be moved without, or that nature employs an immense power to move a small weight. But he acknowledges that Dr. James Keil had shewn that Borelli was mistaken in his calculation of the force of the muscle of the heart; but that he nevertheless ranks him with the most authentic writers, and says he is seldom mistaken: and, having remarked that it is so far from being true, that great things are brought about by small powers, on the contrary, a stupendous power is manifest in the most ordinary operations of nature, he observes that the ingenious Borelli first remarked this in animal motion; and that Dr. Stephen Hales, by a course of experiments in his “Vegetable Statics,” had shewn the same in the force of the ascending sap in vegetables. After a course of unceasing labours, Borelli died at Pantaleon of a pleurisy, the 31st of December 1679, at 72 years of age, leaving the following works: 1. “Delle cagioni dellefebri maligni,1649, 12mo. 2. “Euclides restitutus,” &c. Pisa, 1658, 4to. 3. “Apollonii Pergaei conicorum, libri v. vi. & vii. paraphraste Abalphato Aspahanensi nunc primum editi,” &c. Floren. 1661, fol. 4. “Theoriæ Medicorum Planetarum ex causis physicis deductae,” Flor. 1666, 4to. 5. “De Vi Percussionis,Bologna, 1667, 4to. This piece was reprinted, with his famous treatise “De Motu Animalium,” and that “De Motionibus Naturalibus,” in 1686. 6. “Osservazione intorno alia virtu ineguali degli occhi.” This piece was inserted in the Journal of Rome for the year 1669. 7. “De | motionibus naturalibus e gravitate pemlentibus,” Regio Julio, 1670, 4to. 8. “Meteorologia Ætnea,” &c. Regio Julio, 1670, 4to. 9. “Osservazione dell' ecclissi lunare, fatta in Roma,1675. Inserted in the Journal of Rome, 1675, p. 34. 10. “Elementaconica Apollonii Pergoei et Archimedis opera nova et breviori methodo demonstrata,Rome, 1679, 12mo, at the end of the 3d edition, of his Euclides restitutus. 11. “De Motu Animaiium: pars prima, et pars altera,” Romae, 1681, 4to. This was reprinted at Leyden, revised and corrected; to which was added John Bernouilli’s mathematical meditations concerning the motion of the muscles. “12. At Leyden, 1686, in 4to, a more correct and accurate edition, revised by J. Broen, M. D. of Leyden, of his two pieces” De vi percussionis, et de motionibus de gravitate pendentibus,“&c. 13.” De renum usu judicium:“this had been published with Bellini’s book” De structura renum," at Strasburgh, 1664, 8vo. 1


Fabroni Vitæ Italorum.—Martin’s Biog.—Philosophica.—Gen. Dict.—Haller Bibl. Anat.—Saxii Onomasticon.Hutton’s Math. Dict.