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Link: • Giovanni Ambrosio Sangiorgio to Carl Linnaeus, 21 January 1762 n.s.
Dated 12 Kalend. Februarii 1762. Sent from Melliani (Italia) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Latin.


For a long time Giovanni Ambrosio SangiorgioSangiorgio, Giovanni Ambrosio
(?-?). Italian. Pharmacist.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
has thought of writing to Linnaeus and congratulating him on his great works and showing him how much they mean to scholarly work in Italy in general and to his own interests in particular. However, he has thought that Linnaeus is so used to that kind of letters that they are almost a nuisance to him, and for that reason, he has abstained.

As Sangiorgio has heard that Linnaeus generally answers such letters, and as he has often talked with his patron and benefactor Carlo Gottardo di FirmianFirmian, Carlo Gottardo di
(1716-1782). Italian. Comte. Minister
of Austrian Lombardy.
about Linnaeus, and as di Firmian has offered to convey Sangiorgio’s letter to Linnaeus through a diplomat in Stockholm, he decided to write a letter to Linnaeus.

Linnaeus has no doubt wondered why he has not come across any work in botany, zoology or mineralogy dealing with the region of Milan, while other branches of science are well represented in that way. Sangiorgio admits that, so far, nobody has been willing to undertake that area. Medical plants are rather well known, as are those that are used in other disciplines. This is due not to the indolence of scholars but to lack of interest from the authorities.

A change is under way, however. Due to di Firmian’s efforts, a botanical garden is being established and a young man, well known to and recommended by Linnaeus, will teach. That will also mean that the resources of the region will become known, which will no longer be surpassed by those from other regions. An example already exists, since Francesco Saverio QuadrioQuadrio, Francesco Saverio
(1695-1756). Italian.
has recently compiled a manuscript of a flora [“Storia botanica” ], now kept in Alessandro Teodoro Trivulzio’sTrivulzio, Alessandro Teodoro
Italian. Marquis.
library. It would be very useful if it could be printed [the manuscript was never published ]. It lists the genera and species of the plants and gives details of their medical usage, etymology and culture. The author is known from Giovanni Girolamo ZannichellisZannichelli, Giovanni Girolamo
(1662-1729). Italian. Doctor of
medicine, botanist and chemist.
work on the plants found by the Adriatic Sea [Sangiorgio means the Istoria delle pianteZannichelli, Giovanni Girolamo
Istoria delle piante che nascono
ne’lidi intorno a Venezia; opera postuma
di Gian Girolamo Zannichelli.
Accresciuta da Gian Jacopo figliuolo
dello stesso [...] publicata a spese
(Venice 1735).
], for which Zannichelli has collected the species but Quadrio made the descriptive text.

Sangiorgio would have more to tell Linnaeus, but he does not want to go so far in his praise that he could be regarded as fawning.

Sangiorgio makes a comment on a detail in Sabadiglia mentioned in the fifth part of Amoenitates academicaeLinnaeus, Carl Amoenitates
, I-X (Stockholm
1749-1790). Soulsby no. 1280.
. Linnaeus had not been sure if it was not really a seed of Aconitum lycoctonum. Sangiorgio has seen the answer to this in the early stages of this seed, gathered already during the flowering.

This leads Sangiorgio to comments on two other seeds, the powers of which Linnaeus says nothing or very little about.

The first is the seed of Pastinaca. It had been proven effective against fever by de Garnier. Sangiorgio gives a detailed description of how it is to be given against periodical fevers. He has used it with success hundreds of times.

The second seed is that of Dictamnus albus, which nobody has reported on previously, as far as Sangiorgio knows. A dosage and treatment with that is given.

Sangiorgio is afraid that he has kept Linnaeus occupied too long with this letter. Sangiorgio himself is just an ordinary pharmacist who happens to be interested in botany and greets Linnaeus as his teacher.


a. original holograph (LS, XII, 425-426). [1] [2] [3]