Giambattista della Porta

Giovan Battista della Porta (* 1535 in Vico Equense, † February 4, 1615 in Naples) was a Neapolitan physician, polymath and playwright.


He is regarded as one of the first scientists in the modern sense by its methodology and relative neutrality. In 1558 he published the " Magia naturalis " ( in which he, among other things one of the few existing witches' ointments recipes handed down ). , Which brought him his first fame He claimed (falsely ) that he had been in the drafting of only fifteen years old. He also mentioned for the first time a water drum blower for generating a continuous air jet for a blacksmith forge in Nettuno, south of Rome. A founded in Naples by him in 1560 Society for the Exploration of the Nature, the Academia Naturae Secretorum had to be dissolved by order of the Pope. His basic treatise on cryptology, entitled De Furtivis literarum notis ( About the hidden meaning of the letters ), which he published in 1563, made him famous final. By 1570, he developed around the camera obscura on, an early predecessor of the photographic camera.

The respective 1583 and 1584 published Pomarium ( about fruit growing ) and Olivetum ( about olives) were included in his comprehensive work on agriculture, Villae of 1592nd Before that, in 1586, he published his second major work, medical work entitled De humana Physiognomia 1588 followed by a work on the physiognomy of plants, " Phytognomica ". Here he tried to close the look and the CV of the plants on their effect. He pointed out that herbs with yellow juice can cure jaundice, those with rough surfaces skin diseases. Because of his preoccupation with magic and physiognomy he had to answer before the Inquisition in 1592, but the procedure had no consequences for him. In the following years, but he withdrew as a precaution from the sciences back and turned to the dramatic literature. His comedy La Trappolaria, one of many successful dramatic works, was published in 1596 in Bergamo.


  • Magiae naturalis sive de rerum miraculis naturalium, 1558 ( Alchemy )
  • De Furtivis literarum notis 1563 ( Cryptology )
  • De humana physiognomonia, 1586 (medicine) online resource ( digitized version, incomplete)
  • Phytognomonica, 1588 ( Botany) Online Resource on Real Jardin Botanico, Madrid
  • La Penelope, 1591 ( tragedy)
  • Villae, 1592 ( agriculture )
  • La Trappolaria, 1596 ( Literature ) online resource (Italian )
  • Il Georgio, 1611 ( tragedy)
  • L' Ulisse, 1614 ( tragedy)
  • De telescopio, 1962 ( posthumously )