Focus sul punteruolo del grano nel Sei-Settecento italiano: iconografia e osservazioni di Stelluti, Redi, Cestoni

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Focus on the wheat weevil in the Italian seventeenth-eighteenth century: iconography and observations by Stelluti, Redi, Cestoni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

FOCUS ON THE WEEVIL IN ITALY DURING THE SEVENTEENTH-EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES: ICONOGRAPHY AND OBSERVATIONS BY STELLUTI, REDI, CESTONI Troublesome adversities already known to the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, the common primary insect pests of cereal grains have left significant traces, as well as in archaeological findings, also in Greek and Latin literature. This not only in the scientific literature of Aristotle, Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder or the agricultural and didactic works of Virgil and of the 'rustici' such as Cato, Varro and Columella, but also in satire and theater: one example that speaks for all is Plautus, who elects the curculio, humanizing it, as the parasite par excellence and makes it the protagonist of a famous comedy. However, classical literature and its recovery and development during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are burdened by a long unresolved ambiguity, which is the indicator of attention being paid more to harmfulness than to morphology: does the voracious cereal pest have the features of a beetle or instead assume those of a moth after being a very small 'worm'? Or do the two possibilities coexist, depending on the case? It is not surprising that Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) in his De animalibus insectis libri septem (Bologna 1602) placed the Curculio in a large chapter dedicated to butterflies and moths, describing and illustrating the moth (today Sitotroga cerealella, but probably, as regards the larva, several species including some with exophytic feeding activity) that derive from the ravenous vermiculus; while there is no trace of a weevil when dealing with beetles. The time will come for greater clarity, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, thanks to contributions by scholars (some Italian) who focus attention on beetles nowadays ascribed to the genus Sitophilus (Curculionoidea). Francesco Stelluti (1577–1653) from Fabriano treats it in a primarily literary work, the Persio tradotto in verso sciolto e dichiarato (Rome 1630), finding in a text of the classical Latin period, the Saturae by Aulus Persius Flaccus, cues to disseminating first hand scientific knowledge through extensive commentary notes; in the case of the "Gorgoglione" (the name used by him) with a valuable accompanying figure, made with the aid of the microscope. Francesco Redi (1626- 1698), from Arezzo, for his part limited himself to providing illustrations, of rather modest quality when compared with those of other insects treated in the same work, Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl’insetti (Florence 1668), of two foodstuff beetles: the "Punteruolo del Grano" and the "Baco de’ Canditi e delle droghe" (an Oryzaephilus). Of greater importance is the contribution by Diacinto Cestoni (1637-1718), from Ascoli and Livorno, a very valid observer and experimenter, who illustrates a Sitophilus with developed wings (probably S. oryzae), and writing about it states, among other things, that this insect can also be found in the wheat fields, on the caryopses where it lays its eggs, so that together with the grain it can accidentally be brought into the barn.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Focus on the wheat weevil in the Italian seventeenth-eighteenth century: iconography and observations by Stelluti, Redi, Cestoni
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationAtti del 10° Simposio "La difesa antiparassitaria nelle industrie alimentari e la protezione degli alimenti"
Pages247-248
Number of pages2
Volume10°
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event10° Simposio "La difesa antiparassitaria nelle industrie alimentari e la protezione degli alimenti" - Piacenza - Italia
Duration: 20 Sep 201722 Sep 2017

Conference

Conference10° Simposio "La difesa antiparassitaria nelle industrie alimentari e la protezione degli alimenti"
CityPiacenza - Italia
Period20/9/1722/9/17

Keywords

  • Coleotteri
  • Entomologia
  • Italia
  • Sitophilus
  • Storia
  • secoli XVII-XVIII

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