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Welcome to SPOLIA's section on the history of science.
These few words of presentation are dedicated to those who by fate or by their very strong will were lead here along uncommon routes. A word of warning: this section, for reasons of complementarity with its cousins (history of philosophy, history of logic and history of Arab-Islamic philosophy), and because of the manifest impracticability of its author, will actually reflect a more restrictive disciplinary spectrum than what might be imagined from the title. Here, the intrepid navigator will not find elementa of mathematical, astronomic, or mechanical sciences, but - enclosed in that period of time which saw the rise of the Venerable Bede as well as that of the daring Nicolò Leoniceno - works and characters who linked their destiny to the history of sanitary art and to that of the res naturales (plants, animals and minerals). As an exception, the genre of Itineraria geographica as well as the interconnected cartographic practices will be considered. On the contrary, what belongs here (the Canon of Avicenna, just to make on example) will not be found in the Arab-Islamic section.

At the moment we intend to provide certain essential services. First of all, an accurate, in as much as possible, bibliographical update, a tool which cannot be overlooked by those who deal with the sector of studies on the history of science which has been experiencing significant development for at least two decades. Reading notes accompanied by brief critical annotations will be proposed on the particularly significant works. Moreover, you will find indications and, if possible, reports on exhibitions (instruments, manuscripts, etc.), conferences and seminars held in Universities etc.

But this plan will experience variations and additions as the section becomes an open structure, or so we hope... Therefore, we ask all those who have read to this point without visibly turning up their noses to collaborate, if they would like to, with reports, integrations, corrections and suggestions, contributing to turn this unusual site into a small "Garden of health".

Alessandro Ottaviani

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