Arte e scienza militare

nella biblioteca della Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche: la collezione di Giampaolo Soranzo

[Military art and science in the library of the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche: the Giampaolo Soranzo collection]

by Piero Del Negro

Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche

Treviso 2016

38 pages

Digital publication; text linked to the public talk with the same title given on 19 January 2016 as part of the La Biblioteca incontra… cycle of public lectures organized by the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche.

The Giampaolo Soranzo collection of military books, which takes its name from its penultimate owner, comprises 324 works printed over four centuries: from 1582, the year of publication of Il Brancatio, della vera disciplina, et arte militare by Giulio Cesare Brancaccio, to 1982, the year of publication of the facsimile edition of Girolamo Maggi’s 1583 work Della fortificatione delle città.

The collection was assembled from the holdings of at least two professional libraries built up by professional army officers (one attended the Turin Artillery and Engineer Academy from 1886 to 1887 and the other was at the Modena Infantry and Cavalry Academy in 1935) and based on an all-round collectionism covering the entire spectrum of military sectors (artillery, fortifications, military organization…), although this came to an end when the First World War broke out.

The collection resembles 18th-century professional libraries (for example, the library belonging to General Luigi Ferdinando Marsili) as well as the libraries of the Venetian nobility (see, for example, the entry Tattica, or tactics, in the catalogue of the Biblioteca Soranzo-Corner). An analysis based on the use of Italian and French as the languages (and cultures) of war reveals that, as far as the afore mentioned libraries were concerned, Italian prevailed over French until the mid-17th century, while French dominated from the second half of the 17th century until the early 19th century.