Drowning in the Danube

J.H. Elliott

  • Marsigli’s Europe 1680-1730 by John Stoye
    Yale, 356 pp, £29.95, February 1994, ISBN 0 300 05542 0

Outside his native Bologna, the name of Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, soldier of fortune and Fellow of the Royal Society, must by now be almost unknown. Born in 1658, and surviving until 1730, he made something of a stir in his lifetime, and was the subject of two 18th-century biographies. Since then, he has not exactly been the focus of historical attention, although his memoirs were published in 1930 from an 18th-century manuscript copy. But now he has been somewhat improbably restored to life, with all his failings and foibles, by the magic touch of a sympathetic but far from uncritical biographer, John Stoye.

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