Posts Tagged ‘Rome


Giovanni Maria Lancisi ~ Clinician and Botanist

First Modern Hygenist

He was born on October 26, 1654 and died on January 20, 1720 in Rome.  He was a clinician and botanist who is considered the first modern hygienist.  His monographs of influenza, cattle plague (rinderpest), and malaria revealed his gifts as an epidemiologist.  He related prevalence of malaria in swampy districts to the presence of mosquitoes and recommended drainage of the swamps to prevent the disease.

Lancisi was physician to the popes Innocent XI, Innocent XII, and Clement XI.  His classic work De subitaneis mortibus (1707, “On Sudden Death”) was prepared at the request of Clement XI to explain an increase of sudden deaths in Rome.  These Lancisi attributed to heart disease.  This treatise with De motu cordis et aneurysmatibus (1728, “On the Motion of the Heart and on Aneurysms”) contributed to knowledge of cardiac pathology.



Rodolfo Amadeo Lanciani ~ Archaeologist

He was born on January 1, 1847 and died on May 21, 1929 in Rome.  He was an Archaeologist, topographer, and authority on ancient Rome who discovered many antiquities at Rome, Tivoli, and Ostia and published a 1:1,000-scale map of classical, medieval, and modern Rome in Forma urbis Romae (1893-1901).  At 20 he assisted in the excavation of Emperor Trajan’s harbor at Porto, and his description (1868) remains authoritative.  Appointed director of excavations and professor of ancient topography at the University of Rome in 1878, he also lectured in the U.S. and England (1886-87).  His major works include Ancient Rome in the Light of Modern Discoveries (1888), Storia degli scavi de Roman (4 vol., 1902-12; “History of the Excavation of Rome”), and Wanderings in the Roman Campagna (1909).

Reference:  New Encylopedia Brittanica


Lambert of Spoleto – Co-emperor with his Father

He died on October 15, 898 in Marengo, Italy.  Reigned for six years as Holy Roman emperor at the end of the Carolingian period.

Crowned co-emperor with his father, Guy of Spoleto, at a ceremony in Ravenna in 892,  Lambert ruled alone after his father’s death in 894.  The following year Arnulf of Carinthia, king of Germany, invaded Italy and besieged Rome, taking the city in February 896.  He was crowned emperor by Pope Formosus, who declared Lambert deposed.  Marching on Spoleto, Arnulf was suddenly taken ill and had to return to Germany, leaving Lambert once more in possession of the empire.

A year after Formosus’ death in 896. Lambert avenged the Pope’s crowning of Arnulf by having Formosus body exhumed by the new pope, Stephen VI (VII), dressed in his pontifical robes, and tried and convicted in St. Peter’s for a variety of crimes.  The naked and mutilated body was then flung into a potter’s field and eventually thrown into the Tiber.  Stephen was assassinated in 897.

In 898 Berengar, marquis of Fruili, Guy of Spoleto’s former rival, marched on Pavia.  Lambert, who had been hunting near Marengo, south of Milan, counterattacked, defeating Berengar.  Returning to Marengo, he was killed, either by assassination or by a fall from his horse.


Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora

Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora

Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora

(Born November 18, 1804, Turin, Italy—Died January 5, 1878, Florence), general and statesman played an important role in the Risorgimento (a nationalistic revival movement to unify Italy).

A graduate of the Turin Military Academy, La Marmora entered the army in 1823 and first distinguished himself in the Italian wars of independence against Austria, especially at Borghetto and Pischiera (May 1848).  He also commanded the Sardinian forces in the Crimea (1855).  On August 5, 1848, he rescued  Sardinian king Charles Albert from  Milanese revolutionaries, who had resented the King’s armistice with the Austrians.  He was promoted to general in October and served as minister of war until November;  he later suppressed an insurrection as Genoa (April 4-5 1849)).  As minister of war again until 1860, he reorganized the Italian Army.

La Marmora served as premier of Piedmont from July 1859 to January 1860, as well as governor of Milan and the King’s  lieutenant in Naples.  In September 1864 he again became premier, and as minister of foreign affairs in April 1866, he concluded Italy’s alliance with Prussia against Austria.  As chief of staff in the ensuing war, however, he was held responsible for the overwhelming defeat of the Italians by Austria at Custoza (June 24, 1866).  La Marmora retired to private life shortly afterwards, although, after Rome was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, he was appointed the king’s lieutenant there.  Among his several works, Un po plu di luce sugli eventi politici e military dell’anno 1866 (1873; “A Little More Light on the Events of the Year 1866”) seeks to justify his actions at Custoza.


Robert Adam(5 of 6)

Robert produced an important plan that proposed filling an old center court with a vast domed pantheon-like hall; it was never executed, however.  The entrance hall of Syon, based on a basilica—a rectangular building divided into three areas by two rows of columns—with its half-domed ends, is one of the most significant Neo-classical interiors in England.

Other houses ; from this early phase include the first completely new house, Mersham-le-Hatch, Kent (1762-72); Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square, London (1762-68); Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire (1766-75);  Newby Hall Yorkshire (c.1767-85); and Kendwood, London (1767-68).

The south front of Kedlesion Hall provides an example of Adam’s exterior treatment.  His theme of a triumphal arch as the exterior expressions of the great domed interior hall is the first use of this particular Roman form in domestic architecture.  The double portico (an open space created by a roof held up by columns) at Osterley Park, derived from the Portico of Octavia, Rome, is a similar Neoclassical motif.

In 1768 Robert and James Adam leased a site on the Thames for a speculative development to be known as the Adelphi (it was almost totally destroyed in 1836).  They invested a large sum on embanking the side and building several terraces of houses (1768-72) in which the Adam interior style of slip- pilasters supporting a shallow frieze and cornice—the middle and uppermost sections of an entablature—was brought out of doors.  It was, however, a financial disaster.  In 1773 they again speculated unsuccessfully in a group of stuccoed terraces in Portland Place, London.

The Adams build three major London houses in the early 1770s, which were superb examples of their mature style—No. 20, St. James’s Square for Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn (1772-74);  No. 20, Portman Square for the Countess of Home (1775-77; now the Courtauld Institute of Art); and Derby house in Grosvenor Square for the Earl of Derby (1773-74; demolished 1862).

In 1773 they published the first volume of the Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam.  A second volume followed in 1779, a third was published post-humously in 1822.  In the preface to the firs volume they explain their idea of “movement,” an essential aspect of the Adam style:

Movement is meant to express, the rise and fall, the advance and recess, with other diversity of form, in the different parts of a building, so as to add greatly to the picturesque of the composition.  (S.Mi.)


Robert Adam (2 of 6)

He met Charles Hope in Brussels, and together they proceeded to Paris, where Robert fitted himself out in the latest fashion and set out to “lay in a stock of good acquaintance that may be of use to me hereafter.”  After fewer than three weeks in Paris, they set off for Italy by way of the south of France, visiting en route the Roman sites of Nimes, Arles, the Pont du Gard, and Montepellier.  They reached Genoa early in January 1755 and proceeded to Florence via Leghorn.  Arriving at the end of the month, they were immediately caught up in the social whirl for which Robert had hoped.

While he was in Florence Robert made the acquaintance of a man who was to have an important professional influence upon him.  This an was the talented young French architect and draftsman Charles-Louis Clerisseau, who agreed to accompany him on his tour as instructor and draftsman.  Clerisseau had been a student at the French Academy in Rome but had left in 1754 after a dispute with its director.  As a result of his friendship with Clerisseau,  Robert came in contact with avant-garde architectural theory in Rome.  “I hope,” he wrote, “to have my ideas greatly enlarged and my taste formed upon the solid foundation of genuine antiquity.”  Clerisseau agreed to

serve [him] as an antiquarian . . . teach [him] perspective and drawing . . . [and] give [him] copies of all      [Clerisseau’s] studies of the antique, bas-reliefs and other ornaments . . . .

Adam left Florence in February 1755 and travelled to Rome, where he had to decide whether to devote himself to elegant society or to architecture

If I am known in Rome to be an architect, if I am seen drawing or with a pencil in my hand, I cannot    enter into genteel company who will not admit an artist or, if they do admit him, will very probably rub   affronts on him in order to prevent his appearing at their card-playing, balls and concerts. (S.Mi.)

July 2020

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