Here are some examples of visualizations engendered by spatial and chronological contextualization of the relational datasets produced by the BorGal project, within the Nodegoat web environment. This is a work in progress. Criteria may be still amended; graphs are based on datasets to be completed and refined. All the more reason, they are not supposed to provide any complete representation of reality.
1. This swarm of dots represents Borelli’s (partial) exchange of letters from 1636 to 1676, grouped by correspondent. The largest clusters correspond to the epistles he exchanged with Marcello Malpighi, Antonio Magliabechi, Dionigi Guerrini, Alessandro Marchetti.
2. This is a representation in time and space of Borelli’s network of epistolary contacts, based on the sets of letters in graph1. It clearly shows that the network broadens out towards Europe – by the mediation of Henry Oldenburg and Giovanni Domenico Cassini – after Borelli resigned from the Medici court and, once back in Sicily, was looking for a new powerful patron and for a reach sponsor for his large De motu animalium.
3. Borelli’s network on December 31st, 1679, the day of his death in Rome, based on his testament. If we cross it with the networks of every other person (node) mentioned therein [graphs 3a, 3b, 3c], it is easy to identify different groups of actors: patrons, academic colleagues, members of political factions.
4. Georeferencing the “places of residence” of the members of Borelli network allows to trace their movements across Europe and to detect the overlap of their trips and stays. Visualizations act as magnifying lenses and heuristic tools. This graph, for example, shows that the Calabria region, in the deep South of continental Italy, was the scenario of several events connected with Borelli and his relations. This finding in turn directs the research towards the scientific culture produced and consumed in the 17th century Calabrian cities and feudal courts, realities usually neglected by scholarship as peripheral with respect to the Republic of Letters.