Authorised form of nameMarsigli; Luigi Ferdinand (1658 - 1730); scholar, soldier, and natural philosopher
Other forms of nameLuigi Ferdinando
Other forms of surnameMarsill
Dates1658 - 1730
Place of birthPapal state of Bologna, [modern day Italy], Europe
Date of birth10 July 1658
Place of deathPapal state of Bologna, [modern day Italy], Europe
Date of death1 November 1730
OccupationAuthor; soldier
Research fieldNatural history
Pupil of Marcello Malpighi (FRS 1669) at Bologna
Travelled to Constantinople (1678), where he collected natural history specimens and information about the Ottoman Army; served in the Army of Emperor Leopold I (1682-1704); wounded and captured by Tartars (1682) he witnessed the siege of Vienna as a slave and was rescued (1684); patient of Giacopo Grande (FRS 1690) and Malpighi; Director of the siege works at Buda; Colonel (1690); represented the Emperor in Constantinople at the negotiations for the frontier of Dalmatia; brought back to Vienna a large collection of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew manuscripts; General in the War of the Spanish Succession; accused of cowardice; travelled to Switzerland, Paris and Marseille, where he settled; Commander of the Papal Army (1709); gave his collections of scientific instruments, maps and natural history specimens to the University of Bologna, where they became the foundation of the Istituto delle Scienze e Belle Arti; travelled to England and Holland; on his return to Bologna, founded a printing press with a stock of non-Latin type; climbed Monte Cimone, the highest peak of the northern Appenines (1719)
Foreign Member, Academie Royale des Sciences; Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna (1712, Founder)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election25/11/1691
Age at election33
Other Royal Society activityProposed on the same day as his election;
Correspondent on his natural history and geographical observations
RelationshipsParents: Count Carlo Marsigli and Margherita Ercolani
Siblings: Antonio Felice Marsigli
Published worksRCN: R70737
RCN: 54599
RCN: 29133
General contextMarsigli's interest in natural history was reportedly inspired by a visit to the University of Padua's vegetable garden in 1673. His observations from his travels to the Bosphorus and Constantinople (Istanbul) were communicated to the Swedish Queen Christina is now considered one of his most important early works. Here, he reported on the salt water in the Black Sea. Following his time as prisoner of war of the Turkish forces during the siege of Vienna, he published a work on the use of coffee beans. During this time, he also became increasingly interested in the physics and chemistry of metals, gunpowder, and weapons. After his death, he bequeathed his substantial library and collection of instruments, minerals, and antiquities to the city of Bologna. He is also remembered for his support of the Specola Observatory in Bologna.
Bulloch's Roll; DSB; IBI; Adelmann; Fantuzzi
First two Altname from Hunter, last from DSB.
Cavazza, M. 1980. 'Bologna and the Royal Society in the Seventeenth Century', in Notes and Records, vol. 35, pp. 105-123
Cavazza, M. 2002. 'The Institute of Science of Bologna and the Royal Society in the eighteenth century', in Notes and Records, vol. 56, pp. 3-25
Hall, M B. 1982-83. 'The Royal Society and Italy 1667-1795', in Notes and Records, vol. 37, pp. 63-81
McConnell, A. 1986-87. 'L F Marsigli's Voyage to London and Holland, 1721-1722', in Notes and Records, vol. 41, pp. 39-76
McConnell, A. 1993. 'L F Marsigli's Visit to London in 1721, and his Report on the Royal Society', in Notes and Records, vol. 47, pp. 179-204
McConnell, A. 1997. ''The Danube Displayed', review of John Stoye, Marsigli's Europe 1680-1730, the Life and Times of Luigi Ferdinanto Marsigli, Soldier and Virtuoso', in Notes and Records, vol. 51, pp. 142-144Notes:
DSB gives birth date as 20 July 1658, IBI has 10 July. Index to BR gives election date as '1692 ?'.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8258
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MS/833Luigi Fernando Marsigli Correspondence
CLP/22i/56Paper, Account of Count L F [Luigi Ferdinando] Marsigli's 'Danubialis Operis Prodromus [Forerunner of the work of the Danube]' [1701]
EL/M2/2Letter, from Ferdinand Marsigli to the Secretary of the Royal Society24 December 1725
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