Pietro d'Abano

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Pietro d'Abano also known as Petrus De Apono or Aponensis (1257[1][2] – 1315) was an Italian philosopher, astrologer and professor of medicine in Padua.[3] He was born in the Italian town from which he takes his name, now Abano Terme. He gained fame by writing Conciliator Differentiarum, quæ inter Philosophos et Medicos Versantur. He was eventually accused of heresy and atheism, and came before the Inquisition. He died in prison before the end of his trial.

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Biography

He studied a long time at Paris, where he was promoted to the degrees of doctor in philosophy and medicine, in the practice of which he was very successful, but his fees were remarkably high. In Paris he became known as "the Great Lombard". He settled at Padua, where he gained a reputation as a physician. Also an astrologer,[4] he was charged with practising magic: the specific accusations being that he got back, by the aid of the devil, all the money he paid away, and that he possessed the philosopher's stone.

Gabriel Naude, in his Antiquitate Scholæ Medicæ Parisiensis, gives the following account of him:

It is certain that physic lay buried in Italy, scarce known to any one, uncultivated and unadorned, till its tutelar genius, a villager of Apona, destined to free Italy from its barbarism and ignorance, as Camillus once freed Rome from the siege of the Gauls, made diligent enquiry in what part of the world polite literature was most happily cultivated, philosophy most subtilly handled, and physic taught with the greatest solidity and purity; and being assured that Paris alone laid claim to this honour, thither he presently flies; giving himself up wholly to her tutelage, he applied himself diligently to the mysteries of philosophy and medicine; obtained a degree and the laurel in both; and afterwards taught them both with great applause: and after a stay of many years, loaden with the wealth acquired among you, arid, after having become the most famous philosopher, astrologer, physician, and mathematician of his time, returns to his own country, where, in the opinion of the judicious Scardeon, he was the first restorer of true philosophy and physic. Gratitude, therefore, calls upon you to acknowledge your obligations due to Michæl Angelus Blondus, a physician of Rome, who in the last century undertaking to publish the Conciliationes Physiognomicæ of your Aponensian doctor, and finding they had been composed at Paris, and in your university, chose to publish them in the name, and under the patronage, of your society.

He carried his enquiries so far into the occult sciences of abstruse and hidden nature, that, after having given most ample proofs, by his writings concerning physiognomy, geomancy, and chiromancy, he moved on to the study of philosophy, physics, and astrology; which studies proved so advantageous to him, that, not to speak of the two first, which introduced him to all the popes of his time, and acquired him a reputation among learned men, it is certain that he was a great master in the latter, which appears not only by the astronomical figures he had painted in the great hall of the palace at Padua, and the translations he made of the books of the most learned rabbi Abraham Aben Ezra, added to those he himself composed on critical days, and the improvement of astronomy, but by the testimony of the renowned mathematician Regiomontanus, who made a fine panegyric on him, in quality of an astrologer, in the oration he delivered publicly at Padua when he explained there the book of Alfraganus.

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