Francesco Vimercato (1512–1571) studied philosophy in Bologna, Pavia, and Padua; he was Royal Reader in Greek, Latin, and philosophy in Paris; from 1561, he was professor of philosophy at the newly founded University of Mondovì; he is known for his commentaries on Aristotle’s psychological, ethical, and zoological works.
KeywordsGoverning Council Philosophical Theology Rational Soul Zoological Work
Francesco Vimercato was born in Milan in 1512, and he studied philosophy in Bologna, Pavia, and Padua. In 1540 he wrote an appeal for recognition to Pierre Du Châtelhad, a scholarly prelate, hoping to become one of the King’s readers in the University of Paris. His letter was accompanied by a work entitled De placitis naturalibus Platonis et Aristotelis (ms in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Fond. Lat. 6330; Nardi 1958; Del Soldato 2012). In 1542 he was appointed king’s reader in Greek and Latin philosophy. In 1543 he published a commentary on De anima, along with a “Peripatetic Discussion on the Rational Soul,” in which he reviewed the discussions of Theophrastus, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, Simplicius, Scotus, Pomponazzi, and others on immortality (Vimercato 1543). Shortly after his appointment as king’s reader, he became involved in the Ramist dispute, serving as one of the jurors in ten debates between Ramus and Goveanus. In 1550 he published his commentary on the Physics (Vimercato 1550), and in 1551 his analysis of Book Lambda of the Metaphysics (Vimercato 1551). In this work, dedicated to Cardinal de Bourbon, he defended the study of Greek philosophical theology (Vimercato 1543). His next work was a huge commentary on the Meteorologica, important for its philological qualities (Vimercato 1556). When Henry II was killed in 1559, he addressed to the mourning Caterina de’ Medici a letter of consolation. In 1561 he found a new sponsor in Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, who called him to the chair of philosophy at the University of Mondovì (later, Turin). Vimercato was also named to the duke’s governing council. In Turin he made the acquaintance of the mathematician Giovanni Battista Benedetti. From 1567 to 1570, he served as ambassador of the Duke of Savoy to Milan (Gilbert 1965; Schmitt 1983; Hasse 2004).
The work De principiis rerum naturalium was posthumously published (1596), and several commentaries on Aristotle remained unpublished (on De caelo, Nicomacheam Ethics, De partibus animalium).
- Vicomercato, F. 1556. In quatuor libros Aristotelis Meteorologocorum commentarii. Et eorumdem librorum e Graeco in Latinum per eundem conversio. Lutetiae Parisorum: Apud Vascosanum (reprints: Venice 1565, 1598).Google Scholar
- Vicomercato, F. 1596. De principiis rerum naturalium libri tres. Venetiis: Apud Franciscum Bolzetam Bibliopolam Patavinum (reprint: Marburg 1598).Google Scholar
- Vimercato, F. 1543. Commentarii in tertium librum Arist. De anima. Eiusdem de aima rationali, peripatetica disceptatio. Parisiis: Ex officina Christiani Wecheli, sub scuto Basiliensi (reprints: Venice in 1566 and 1574).Google Scholar
- Vimercato, F. 1550. De naturali auscultatione libri VIII, gr. Et lat. Cum Francisci Vicomercati commentariis. Lutetiae Parisiorum: apud Mich. Vascosanum (reprint: Venice 1664).Google Scholar
- Vimercato, F. 1551. In eam partem duodecimi libri metaph. Aristotelis, in qua de Deo et caeteris mentibus divinis disseritur, Commentarii, unà cum eiusdem partis è Graeco in Latinum conversione. Parisiis: Ex typographia Matthaei Davidis.Google Scholar
- Del Soldato, E. 2012. Francesco Vimercato’s De placitis naturalibus Platonis et Aristotelis, ac inter eos de illis consensione et dissentione. Rinascimento 52: 117–177.Google Scholar
- Hasse, D.N. 2004. Aufstieg und Niedergang des Averroismus in der Renaissance: Niccolò Tignosi, Agostino Nifo, Francesco Vimercato. In Herbst des Mittelalters?: Fragen zur Bewegung des 14. und 15 Jahrhunderts, ed. J.A. Aertsen and M. Pickavé, 447–473. Berlin: Walter de guyte.Google Scholar
- Nardi, B. 1958. Saggi sull’aristotelismo padovano dal sec. XIV al sec. XVI, 404–410. Firenze Sansoni.Google Scholar
- Schmitt, C.B. 1983. Aristotle and the Renaissance, 72, 78–81. Cambridge, MA: London Harward University Pren.Google Scholar