3.02 Sorrentino 1734

Ignazio Sorrentino, Istoria del monte Vesuvio divisata in due libri, Naples 1734

Be 4015-3340 raro IV

The Istoria del monte Vesuvio in due libri written by the priest Ignazio Sorrentino, printed by Giuseppe Severini in 1734, is dedicated to Celestino Galiani, major chaplain of the Kingdom of Naples and prefect of the Regi Studi, promoter of Newton’s and Locke’s ideas in Southern Italy. In the first chapters, the author analyses the minerals erupted by the volcano in 1631, illustrates the theory of the submarine origin of Vesuvius and the different composition of the gases emitted by its three mouths; the first book closes with observations on the benefits brought by the ash to crops, and particularly to wine (p. 97). The second book opens with a description of the eruption of 1660, then moves on to the numerous eruptions that occurred between 1682 and 1733, which Sorrentino observed at first hand, reporting personal notes and experiences that constitute the most interesting feature of the volume. For example, he reports and examines the belief widespread in towns near to Vesuvius (“hò inteso dire da’ nostri Torresi“) that after a hundred years of eruptions Vesuvius would return to a state of quiescence for several centuries (p. 220). Finally, the numerous terms chosen to qualify the different eruptions described are interesting: “eruttazione”, “esalazione”, “incendio”, “incendimento”, “accendimento”, “accenzione”, “fuoco”, “bruciamento”. [DC]

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