Giorgio Valla and the anatomo-physiology of perception nerves in Greek sources of the De expetendis et fugiendis rebus opus (Venice, 1501)

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Berenice Cavarra
Marco Cilione

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The paper is an updated version of a speech presented at 26th annual meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences, Rome, Italy, 14-18 June 2022.

Abstract

Abstract. The importance of Giorgio Valla in the history of Renaissance Humanism science has not yet been adequately recognized. In the vast background of his knowledge, gathered in a remarkable encyclopedic work entitled De expetendis et fugiendis rebus (Venice 1501), the natural sciences and medicine occupy a place of particular importance and express all the extraordinary value of his double competence as a humanist and a doctor. In the section of the encyclopedia relating to ‘commoda et incommoda corporis’ (l. 48), Valla dedicates chapters 9 to 13 to the five senses, chapter 14 to imagination, chapter 15 to memory. In addition to proposing a translation of some passages of the text, our contribution intends to evaluate the sources that the author uses in the treatment of the theme of perception; how the theme in the history of ideas arrives from the ancient to the ‘encyclopedia’ of Giorgio Valla; how the author places the physiology of perception in the framework of the Christian orthodoxy that characterizes him.


 

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