1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Marsigli, Luigi Ferdinando

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MARSIGLI [Latinized Marsilius], LUIGI FERDINANDO, Count (1658–1730), Italian soldier and scientific writer, was born at Bologna on the 10th of July 1658. After a course of scientific studies in his native city he travelled through Turkey collecting data on the military organization of that empire, as well as on its natural history. On his return he entered the service of the emperor Leopold (1682) and fought with distinction against the Turks, by whom he was wounded and captured in an action on the river Raab, and sold to a pasha whom he accompanied to the siege of Vienna. His release was purchased in 1684, and he afterwards took part in the war of the Spanish succession. In 1703 he was appointed second in command under Count Arco in the defence of Alt-Breisach. The fortress surrendered to the duke of Burgundy, and both Arco and Marsigli were court martialled; the former was condemned to death and the latter cashiered, although acquitted of blame by public opinion. Having thus been forced to give up soldiering, he devoted the rest of his life to scientific investigations, in the pursuit of which he made many journeys through Europe, spending a considerable time at Marseilles to study the nature of the sea. In 1712 he presented his collections to his native city, where they formed the nucleus of the Bologna Institute of Science and Art. He died at Bologna on the 1st of November 1730. Marsigli was a fellow of the London Royal Society and a member of the Paris Academy of Science.

Bibliography.—A list of his works, over twenty in number, is given in Niceron’s Memoirs; his Breve ristretto del saggio fisico intorno alla storia del mare was published at Venice in 1711, and again at Amsterdam (in French) in 1725; the Stato militare dell’ impero ottomano was published at Amsterdam and the Hague in Italian and French (1732), the Osservazioni intorno al Bosforo Tracio in Rome (1681) and the Danubius pannonico-mysicus, a large work in six volumes containing much valuable historic and scientific information on the Danubian countries, at the Hague (1725). See Fontenelle, “Éloge” in the Mém. de l’acad. des sciences (Paris, 1730); Quincy, Mémoires sur la vie de M. le comte Marsigli (Zürich, 1741), and Fantuzzi’s biography of Marsigli (Bologna, 1770).