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Cardanus, Hieronymus Girolomo (1501-1576).


Metampodis de Naevis corporis.

Paris, 1658

"A Physician born to a noble family in Milan, who was professor of medicine at Pavia (1543) and Bologna (1562). In 1551 he traveled to Scotland to cure John Hamilton, the archbishop of St Andrews, of a dangerous illness, and cast a horoscope for Edward VI. Cardanus was also a prodigous writer of subjects such as algebra and health. He described the characteristics or indicators of long life which, according to him, were: a family history of long life in at least of one of the parents; a cheerful easy disposition; and the ability to sleep long and soundly. He died a few weeks after publishing his autobiography, De propia vita. He had a tragic life, as one of his two sons was executed for murdering his wife, and the other son became a reprobate" (Dictionary of the History of Medicine, p. 174).

"Cardano wrote more than 200 works on medicine, mathematics, physics, philosophy, religion, and music. Although he was insensitive to the plastic arts, his was the universal mentality to which no branch of learning was inaccessible. Even his earliest works show the characteristics of his highly unstable personality: encyclopedic learning, powerful intellect combined with childlike credulity, unconquerable fears and delusions of grandeur. In 1570 Cardano was imprisoned by the Inquisition. He was accused of heresy, particularly for having cast the horoscope of Christ and having attributed the events of His life to the influence of the stars. After a few months in prison, having been forced to recant and to abandon teaching, Cardano went to Rome, where he succeeded in obtaining the favor of Pope Pius V, who gave him a lifetime annuity" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

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