Alberti, Leone Battista
Baif, Lazare de
Baliani, Giovanni Battista
Benedetti, Giovanni Battista
Borelli, Giovanni Alfonso
Cicero, M. Tullius
Foscarini, Paolo Antonio
Guevara, Giovanni di
Jordanus de Nemore
Marci of Kronland, Johannes Marcus
Monantheuil, Henri de
Monte, Guidobaldo del
Schreck, Johann Terrenz
Stelliola, Niccolò Antonio
Wolff, Christian von
Born in the first half of the 16th century, died in 1603, Italian philosopher and physician
Only scant reports exist of Buonamici’s life. It is known that he was a physician in Florence, who instructed physics and philosophy in Pisa at the time Galileo studied there, and that he was a member of the Academico Florentino. He was supposed to have been a good orator and teacher and to have been an outstanding scholar of Greek. His teaching activities extended to metaphysics, logic and ethics. It is highly probable that Galileo’s tract Juvenilia, written in 1584, was based on Buonamici’s lectures. A copy of Buonamici’s principle work, De motu was found in Galileo’s library, and there are numerous similarities between several parts of this work and Galilei’s early writings (including Galileo’s De motu, which was written around 1590). Later, however, Galileo turned against the teachings of Buonamici in his Discorso ... intorno alle cose che stano in su l’acque…, printed in 1612.
Buonamici’s De motu (Florence 1591) is a comprehensive synopsis of the natural philosophy of the age, firmly rooted in the Peripatetic tradition, focusing on the four causes of movements and changes, the different kinds of movements and their relationship to the celestial movements. In this eclectic masterpiece of the Renaissance, which A. Piccolomini is supposed to have held in high estimation, Buonamici assimilates both the literary tradition of antiquity, by working references of ancient poetry into his text time and again, and the tradition of the Greek commentators of Aristotle, such as Alexander of Aphrodisia and John Philoponus. In addition to Archimedes, who is cited at length, the mathematicians Nicomachus and Campanus are also cited. Buonamici also comprehensively discusses the Averroists of Padua and the various Platonic and Neo-Platonic schools from the Arabs all the way to the Florentine Academy. Of course, he also dealt with Thomas on Aquinas, Duns Scotus and other Scholastics. Buonamici even takes authors of the fourteenth century like Walter Bulea, Richard Swineshead (the Calculator) and Alber of Saxony into consideration, but his report about their contributions to the development of mechanics is often quite superficial. Overall, it must be said that he does not always quote his sources or the authors he discusses correctly. Of his direct predecessors and contemporaries, he is interested predominantly in Alessandro Achillini and Ludovici Buccaferreal, both of Bologna, Francesco Vicomecato of Milan, Scaliger and Cardano. From his De motu it can be inferred that Buonamici himself was a very conservative Aristotelian, who rejects most of the views of the younger Aristotelians. For instance, he holds fast to the theory of a “self-expending” impetus and accepts the theory of the supposedly initial acceleration of the projected body. He also rejects the Parisian Terminists’ theory of accidental gravity, with which they attempted to explain the acceleration of falling bodies, and claims that Aristotle’s explanations were sufficient. Buonamici also held fast to the old Aristotelian rules for calculating the ratios of movements, speeds and distances traveled and did not accept the newer calculations and calculation methods of Alber of Saxony and other new Scholastics.
In his Discorsi poetici detti nell Accademia Fiorentina difesa d’Aristotile of 1597 Buonamici defended the work of Aristotle against the objections of Castevetro.
Buonamici also published a medical work, De alimentolibri V (Florence 1603). From the few reports about Buonamici it can be inferred that a manuscript of his Lectiones super I. et II. Meteorum was held at the Libreria Laurenziana, and a manuscript of his Commentarius in Logicam et Ethicam in the Libreria Gaddi; both of these libraries now belong to the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence.
(1) De motu libri X, quibus generalia naturalis philosophiae principia summo studio collecta continentur. Florence 1591
(2) De alimento libri V, ubi multa Medicorum sententiae delibantur. Venice 1601 and Florence 1603