Borelli's On the Movement of Animals - On the Force of Percussion

  • Giovanni Alfonso Borelli

Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 37)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxviii
  2. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 1-2
  3. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 3-5
  4. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 23-26
  5. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 65-69
  6. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 79-84
  7. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 105-110
  8. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 113-116
  9. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 117-126
  10. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 129-130
  11. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 147-151
  12. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 153-166
  13. Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    Pages 195-200
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 201-220

About this book


This volume provides an introduction to Borelli’s theory on the movement of animals and demonstrates the nature of the energy of percussion, its causes, properties and effects. Building on and moving away from the theory of mechanics as formulated by Aristotle and Galileo, and countering objections expressed by Stephani degli Angeli among others, Borelli presents a completely mechanical account of the action of muscles, and analyzes the way in which the center of gravity of the animal shifts in locomotion.

Originally published in Italian in 1667, then translated into Latin in 1686, the text of this volume has now been translated into English, making the text accessible to a wide readership. 

This volume is the first of two volumes that contain the Introduction and physical-mathematical illustrations necessary to understand Giovanni Alfonso Borelli’s work On the Movement of Animals, the founding text of seventeenth century biomechanics. The second volume, entitled On The Natural Motions Resulting From Gravity, describes his theory and scientific experiments relating to the natural movements of bodies in a fluid environment.


Galileo and Stevin Giovanni Alfonso Borelli How can an accelerated movement be generated Jan Broen, Leiden Magnificent De Motu Animalium Natural Motions Peter Van der Aa Principles of movement Properties and actions of the motive virtue The force of percussion The nature of movement Why a magnet attracts iron

Authors and affiliations

  • Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
    • 1
  1. 1.(deceased), Professor of Mathematics in NaplesNaplesItaly

Bibliographic information