Accademia dei Lincei: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Palazzo Corsini

The Accademia dei Lincei, (literally the "Academy of the Lynx-Eyed", but also known as the Lincean Academy), is an Italian science academy, located at the Palazzo Corsini on the Via della Lungara in Rome, Italy.

Founded in 1603 by Federico Cesi, it was the first academy of sciences to persist in Italy, and a locus for the incipient scientific revolution. The academy was named after the lynx, an animal whose sharp vision symbolizes the observational prowess required by science. In 1871, the academy became its country's official scientific academy .

The Pontifical Academy of Science also claims a heritage descending from the first two incarnations of the Academy, by way of the Accademia Pontificia dei Nuovi Lincei ("Pontifical Academy of the New Lynxes"), founded in 1847.


The Accademia

Federico Cesi

The first Accademia dei Lincei was founded in 1603 by Federico Cesi, an aristocrat from Umbria (the son of Duke of Acquasparta and a member of an important family from Rome) who was passionately interested in natural history, above all in botany. The academy replaced the first scientific community ever, Giambattista della Porta's Academia Secretorum Naturae in Naples, which had been closed by the Inquisition. Cesi started the Accademia dei Lincei with three of his friends, the Dutch physician Johannes Van Heeck (italianized to Giovanni Ecchio), and two fellow Umbrians, mathematician Francesco Stelluti and polymath Anastasio de Filiis. Cesi and his friends aimed to understand all of the natural sciences, an emphasis that set the Lincei apart from the host of 16th and 17th century Italian Academies, most of which were literary and antiquarian. Free experiment was Cesi's plan, respectful of tradition, but untrammeled by blind obedience to authority, even that of Aristotle and Ptolemy, whose theories the new science called into question.

The four men chose the name "Lincei" (lynx) from Giambattista della Porta's book "Magia Naturalis", which had an illustration of the fabled cat on the cover and the words "...with lynx like eyes, examining those things which manifest themselves, so that having observed them, he may zealously use them"[1]. Accademia dei Lincei's symbols were both a lynx and an eagle, because they were famed for their sharp eyes. The academy's motto, chosen by Cesi, was: "take care of small things if you want to obtain the greatest results" (minima cura si maxima vis). When Cesi visited Naples, he met the polymath della Porta. Della Porta encouraged Cesi to continue with his endeavors[1]. Giambattista della Porta joined Cesi's academy in 1610.

Galileo was inducted to the exclusive academy on December 25, 1611, and became its intellectual center. Being a member of the academy was an honour to him, because after being accepted as its member, he signed himself Galileo Galilei Linceo. The academy published his works and supported him through his disputes with the Roman Catholic Church. Among the academy's early publications in the fields of astronomy, physics and botany were the study of sunspots and the famous Saggiatore of Galileo, and the Tesoro Messicano (Mexican Treasury) describing the flora, fauna, and drugs of the New World, which took decades of labor, down to 1651. With this publication, the first, most famous phase of the Lincei was concluded. Cesi's own intense activity was cut short by his sudden death in 1630, scarcely 45 years of age.

The Linceans produced an important collection of micrographs, or drawings made with the help of the newly invented microscope. After Cesi's death, the Accademia dei Lincei closed and the drawings were collected by Cassiano dal Pozzo, a Roman antiquarian, whose heirs sold them, and in 1763 most of them went to George III of the United Kingdom. The drawings were discovered in Windsor Castle in 1986 by art historian David Freedberg. They are being published as part of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo.[2]



The Accademia is re-founded

In 1801, abbate Feliciano Scarpellini with Gioacchino Pessuti founded the Accademia Caetani whuich took the name of Accademia dei Lincei,[3] but it underwent a true revival only in 1847, when Pope Pius IX re-founded it as the Pontificia accademia dei Nuovi Lincei, the Pontifical Academy of New Lincei.

The Reale Accademia dei Lincei

in 1874, Quintino Sella turned it into the Accademia Nazionale Reale dei Lincei, the Royal National Lincean Academy. This incarnation broadened its scope to include moral and humanistic sciences, and regained the high prestige associated with the original Lincean Academy. After the unification of Italy, the Piedmontese Quintino Sella infused new life into the Nuovo Lincei, reaffirming its ideals of secular science, but broadening its scope to include humanistic studies: history, philology, archeology, philosophy, economics and law, in two classes of Soci (Fellows).


The Accademia d'Italia

In the fascist period, it was incorporated into the new Accademia d'Italia, the Italian Academy. After the fall of the fascist regime, when the Accademia d'Italia was suppressed, at the suggestion of Benedetto Croce the Lincean Academy recovered its independence.

The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

In 1986, the Academy was placed under a statute that says it shall be composed of 540 members, of whom 180 are ordinary Italian members, 180 are foreigners, and 180 are Italian corresponding members. The members are divided into two classes: one for mathematical, physical, and natural sciences; the other for moral, historical, and philological sciences.

In 2001, the natural sciences were re-divided into five categories: mathematics, mechanics and applications; astronomy, geodesy, geophysics and applications; physics, chemistry and applications; geology, paleontology, mineralogy and applications; and biological sciences and applications. At the same time, the moral sciences were divided into seven categories: philology and linguistics; archeology; criticism of art and of poetry; history, historical geography, and anthropology; philosophical science; juridical science; social and political science.

External links


  1. ^ a b Della Porta's Life - From Giambattista Della Porta Dramatist by Louise George Clubb - Princeton University Press Princeton, New Jersey, 1965
  2. ^ Paper Museum, Warburg Institute
  3. ^ [ Accademia dei Lincei: Protagonisti: Feliciano Scarpellini


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address