That Lull had touched on these subjects was known to Leonardo perhaps on account of his frequentation
in previous years of Fra Luca Pacioli, who, belonging to that great Franciscan family which included among
its numbers Raimondo Lull, may have suggested to Leonardo that he study this complicated philosopher, in
the same way as he may have suggested the work of another and greater Franciscan, Roger Bacon. There is
no proof that Leonardo’s indication of “Ramondina”, was common at Leonardo’s time, as were other widely
published books of a similar nature: the Orlandini Rudulphini Summa Artis Notariae may serve as an example.
In Venice the Ars generalis ultima had been printed in 1480; some of Lull’s writings had been published
in Rome; also other works by the same author had been engraved at the end of the
Cf. Brunet, Manuel, III, 2e partie (Paris, 1862), col. 1223; Hain, Repertorium, II, Pars I, Stuttgart 1831, pg. 299-300; Copinger, Supplement
to Hain’s Repertorium, II (London, Sotheran, 1808), pg. 370 and the important additions of Reichling, Appendices, etc., fasc. II
(Monaco, Rosenthal, 1906), pg. 64; III (1907), pg. 95; IV (1908) pg. 42-43; V (1909) pg. 44-45.
Barcelona; but perhaps Leonardo was researching hand-written treatises not easy to find.
Leonardo’s meteorological doctrines would require patient comparison with the
sources already known,
Anyone embarking on such study would find it useful to consult the works already cited by Baratta (Leonardo da Vinci e i problemi
della terra), by Duhem (études sur Léonard de Vinci Ceux qu’il a lus et ceux qui l’ont lu: see especially the studies I, V in the first series
and XII in the second) and, throughout the rapid review of Leonardo sources offered by Solmi in the volume cited.
particularly with regard to Aristotle, Pliny, Albert Magnus and
Albert of Saxony,
It would be difficult, I believe, to deny the significantly wide influence of Albert of Saxony’s Quaestiones in libros de coelo et
mundo, not just in the F. manuscript (cf. Duhem, études etc., cit., Première série cit., I. Albert de Saxe et Léonard de Vinci), but also in
the Leicester manuscript, especially as regards the theory discussed by Leonardo on the causes of moonlight and the topics dealt with in
sheets 35 v. and 36r.
, and especially those
ideas which he illustrates, accepting or rejecting them, regarding some great questions, such as the origin of
rivers and the circulation of water, the phenomena of the sea (ebb and flow, salinity), of the causes of earthquakes.
In rejecting, on the basis of an
impression of the senses,
Cf. sheet 26 v.
the speed of the tide, and in deducing the
cause of this phenomenon; in explaining his opinions,
See above note 1 on pg. 19.
regarding the origin of spring waters
at the top of mountains; in part also in giving his explanation of the wind, Leonardo deviates from simpler,
more solid principles which had not belonged in vain to traditional science and which had been, in some
cases, formulated by
In the Leicester manuscript a note on sheet 36 v.: “L’onda dell’acqua del vaso circulare corre dal cerchio al centro, e po’ refrette dal
centro al cerchio, e dal cerchio al centro; e così segue successive” [the wave of water created inside a circular recipient moves from the
outside to the centre and then back from the centre outwards and from the outside to the centre; and so it continues]; and another on sheet
12 v.: “Come l’onda del vaso percosso scorre più volte dalla circunferenzia al mezzo del vaso, e da esso mezzo ritorna alla sua circunferenzia”
[ as the wave of a recipient that has been struck runs many times from the circumference to the centre of the recipient and from
the centre returns to the circumference] recall verses 1-6 of canto XIV of Dante’s Paradise:
Dal centro al cerchio, e sì dal cerchio al centro,
movesi l’acqua in un ritondo vaso,
secondo ch’è percossa fuori o dentro.
Nella mia mente fe’ sùbito caso
questo ch’io dico, sì come si tacque
la gloriosa vita di Tommaso.
[From centre unto rim, from rim to centre,
In a round vase the water moves itself
As from without ‘tis struck or from within.
Into my mind upon a sudden dropped
What I am saying at the moment when
Silent became the glorious life of Thomas]
Where the word “caso”, so close to the examples offered by the Leicester manuscript, supports, in my opinion, the theory of the historic
commentators who understood it in the sense that Leonardo uses it, rather than Monti and most modern commentators (cf. Casini’s
commentary to the Divine Comedy in the second volume of his Manuale di letteratura italiana, Florence, Sansoni, 1889, pg. 630). The
“lago del core” or “mare del core” (cf. sheet 21 v., and sheet 34 r.) also have a Dantesque flavour; as perhaps, by chance, the idea of an
imaginary well going through the centre of the earth (sheet 21v; cf. also the Atlantic Codex, sheet 123r.-a Circa la Quaestio de acqua et
terra, attributed to Dante and regarding his connection with the quesito, which I have discussed in the second part of note 8 on pg. 18,)
may also have been derived from Dante cf. Baratta, Leonardo da Vinci e i problemi della terra, cit., pg. 57-59.
with admirable clarity; but the progress of his thought, which led him to a personal
reconstruction (often trying out the oddest explanation or those offered to him directly by an analogy
with lesser facts observed in nature), is always of great interest.