3.10 Mecatti 1752

Giuseppe Maria Mecatti, Racconto storico-filosofico del Vesuvio e particolarmente di quanto è occorso in quest’ultima eruzione principiata il dì 25 ottobre 1751, Naples 1752

Zi 706-3520 raro IV

The Racconto storico-filosofico del Vesuvio (‘Historical-philosophical account of Vesuvius’) is a work with a complex publishing history, which led to the circulation of copies that differed considerably in format, page numbers and content. The example shown here is only the first part of the most common version, which has over 700 pages and 10 illustrated plates. Some later editions contain additions that account for the eruptions up to 1766. The author was the Florentine academic Giuseppe Maria Mecatti, the author of several genealogical, erudite and historical works, as well as the first translator of Montesquieu’s Esprit des Lois (Naples 1751). The work is dedicated to the Infante Philip, Duke of Parma, and consists of several parts, not always coherently organised: there are “speeches” and “digressions” on various Vesuvian themes addressed by Mecatti to his correspondents, mostly foreigners, letters he received, extracts from seventeenth-century works; there are also transcriptions of epigraphs and passages from compositions in verse, including an eclogue by Giovanni Pontano (Lepidina, pompa V, v. 246-259). On pp. 163-171 we find a catalogue, a synoptic table of Vesuvian eruptions witnessed by ancient and modern authors, with indication of the dates of beginning and end, of the erupted minerals and of the “preludes”. [DC]

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