ARTICLE ALERT: Promoting Empirical Knowledge in Habsburg Europe

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Luca Ciancio, “Promoting Empirical Knowledge in Habsburg Europe: Dedicatory Letters to the Cardinal Bernardo Cles in Works of Medicine, Astronomy and Natural Philosophy (1524-1536),” Nuncius / Museo Galileo 36, no. 1 (2021): 95–118.


Abstract: Recent studies on the functions performed by natural and mathematical sciences in Renaissance courts have shown how closely and extensively the domains of medicine, astrology and politics interacted with each other. The dedicatory letters to Cardinal and Prince-Bishop Bernardo Cles printed in works of medicine, astronomy and natural philosophy by scholars like Marco Antonio Rozoni (1524), Sebastian Münster (1527), Luca Gaurico (1531) Pietro Antonio Mattioli (1533) and Ludovico Nogarola (1536) reveal how much attention Ferdinand I’s Supreme Chancellor, a prelate and politician of unquestioned authority and power, devoted to such influential domains of natural science. In particular, they suggest that Bernardo was not unfavorable to a view of natural knowledge inspired by the anti-astrological skepticism of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. What is more, his intellectual proximity to learned physicians working in the wake of Nicolò Leoniceno’s medical humanism lends credit to the image of a patron, and a ruler, who was oriented to rely preferably on natural knowledge grounded in repeatable sensorial experience.