Gjuro Baglivi bigraphy, stories - Italian physician

Gjuro Baglivi : biography

September 8, 1668 - June 15, 1707

Gjuro Baglivi, also Giorgio Baglivi, (September 8, 1668 in Dubrovnik – June 15, 1707 in Rome) was an ItalianYale University. Dept. of the History of Medicine. H. Schuman, 1976. p. 469. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.History of Science Society, Académie internationale d'histoire des sciences. Published by the University of Chicago Press for the History of Science Society, 1948. p. 114. Web. 11 Apr. 2011. physician and scientist, was born in poor circumstances at Ragusa in Dalmatia, his real name being Armeno. His family was of Armenian decent. His family was removed to Lecce in Apulia, and Giorgio took the name of his adopted father, a wealthy physician named Pier Angelo Baglivi. He made important contributions to clinical education, based on his own medical practice, and in De Fibra Motrice advanced the theory that the solid parts of organs are more crucial to their good functioning than their fluids.

Published works

  • De praxi medica ad priscam observandi rationem ravocanda, (Rome, 1696), trans. as The Practice of Physick, London, 1704)
  • De fibra motrice, et morbosa, nec non de experimentis, ac morbis salivae, bilis et sanguinis, (Perugia, 1700)
  • Specimen quatuor libroum de fibra motrice et morbosa, (Rome, 1702)
  • Canones de medicina solidorum ad rectum statices usum, (Rome, 1704)
  • Opera omnia medico-practica et anatomica, (Lyons, 1704; new enlarged ed., 1710)


Baglivi travelled extensively in Italy, where he worked in hospitals in Padua, Venice, Florence and Bologna and in Holland and England (1688-1692). He was Assistant to Marcello Malpighi first in Bologna and then in Rome (1691-1694). He was appointed Physician to Popes Innocent XII and Clement XI, Teacher of Surgery and Anatomy at La Sapienza, Rome in 1696 and Professor of Theoretical Medicine in 1700. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in July 1698.

Baglivi conducted experiments on dogs and frogs, carried out autopsies and made microscopic examinations of muscle fibres and the membranes surrounding the brain (the meninges and dura mater). He dissected such animals as lions, tortoises, snakes and deer, made morphological and physiological discoveries and experimented with toxic drugs. He felt that physicians had too easily become slaves to theories, systems and hypotheses. In keeping with the spirit of his times, he attacked the medico-philosophical systems, and instead emphasised the Hippocratic principles of sound clinical observation.

Being inclined towards mathematics and quantification in medicine, Baglivi viewed the physiological processes in mechanical terms, behaving like the parts of a machine. He was "a distinguished physiological researcher fascinated by the nerves, his microscopic studies enabled him to distinguish between smooth and striated muscles and distinct kinds of fibres." Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: a Medical History of Humanity, New York: Norton, p.228

His collected works, written in Latin, enjoyed more than 20 editions, and were translated into Italian, French, German and English. The Académie Française accepted him as "membre d'honneur". Baglivi was also a member of the Accademia dell'Arcadia.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine