Alessandro Achillini
Alessandro Achillini was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 philosopher and physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...



He was born and died in Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, and is buried in the Church of Saint Martin there. He was celebrated as a lecturer both in medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 and in philosophy at Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

 and Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

, and was styled the second Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...


His philosophical works were printed in one volume folio, at Venice, in 1508, and reprinted with considerable additions in 1545, 1551 and 1568.

He was also distinguished as an anatomist, among his writings being De humani corporis anatomia (Venice, 1516-1524), and Annotationes anatomicae (Bologna, 1520). He died at Bologna on the 2nd of August 1512. Amongst his notable discoveries, he is known as the first anatomist to describe the two tympanal bones of the ear, termed malleus
The malleus or hammer is a hammer-shaped small bone or ossicle of the middle ear which connects with the incus and is attached to the inner surface of the eardrum...

 and incus
The incus or anvil is the anvil-shaped small bone or ossicle in themiddle ear. It connects the malleus to the stapes. It was first described by Alessandro Achillini of Bologna.The incus transmits sound vibrations from the malleus to the stapes....

. In 1503 he showed that the tarsus (middle part of the foot) consists of seven bones, he rediscovered the fornix
The fornix is a C-shaped bundle of fibers in the brain, and carries signals from the hippocampus to the hypothalamus.-Structure:...

 and the infundibulum
An infundibulum is a funnel-shaped cavity or organ.* Lungs: The alveolar sacs of the lungs from which the air chambers open are called infundibula...

 of the brain.

His brother, Giovanni Filoteo Achillini
Giovanni Filoteo Achillini
Giovanni Filoteo Achillini was an Italian philosopher.Born in Bologna, he was the younger brother of philosopher Alessandro.He applied himself to Greek, Latin, theology, philosophy, music, antiquities, jurisprudence, poetry, etc., but did not excel in any specific field...

, was the author of Il Viridario and other writings, verse and prose, and his grandnephew, Claudio Achillini
Claudio Achillini
Claudio Achillini was an Italian philosopher, theologian, mathematician, poet, and jurist.Born in Bologna, he was grandson to Giovanni Filoteo Achillini and grand-nephew to Alessandro Achillini. He was professor of jurisprudence for several years at his native Bologna, Parma, and Ferrara, with the...

, was a lawyer who achieved some notoriety as a versifier of the school of the Secentisti.

Further reading

  • Herbert Stanley Matsen. Alessandro Achillini (1463-1512) and his doctrine of universals and transcendentals: a study in Renaissance ockhamism. Lewisburg, Bucknell University Press 1974
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