Cassini family
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The Maraldi family
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A background to the Maraldi branch of the family

The Maraldi family crest

The Cassini and Maraldi families are inter-related and should be looked at, in the context of their scientific work and discoveries, as a single unit. Although the Maraldi family did not come from Perinaldo but from Candeasco, Borgamo, a small town about thirty kilometres eash north-east of Perinaldo, they are as important to the history of Perinaldo as is the Cassini family.

Giovanni Francesco Maraldi, was born in 1631 in Candeasco and left for Perinaldo around 1660 where he settled, marrying in 1663 Angela Caterina Cassini, the last child of Giacomo Cassini and Tullia Crovese, and sister of Giovanni Domenico Cassini who, as Jean Dominique Cassini became known as Cassini I.

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The Maraldi family’s three branches

The family’s name originally was Marvaldi, Giovanni Francesco Maraldi’s father being Filippo Marvaldi. Both Filippo Marvaldi’s and Giovanni Francesco Marvaldi’s brothers remained in Candeasco as the Candeasco branch of the family.

Another branch of the family was established in Spain with Filippo Marvaldi’s uncle – brother of Filippo Marvaldi’s father, Francesco Marvaldi – moving there as Filippo Maraldi.

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Giovanni Francesco Maraldi

Giovanni Francesco, or Francesco, as he came to be known, took part in the activities of the Comune of Perinaldo, becoming one of the two sindaci, or mayors, of the Comune in 1672. Whether this was before or after the attack on Perinaldo in the Second Genoese-Savoyard war I have not been able to determine. He appears to have been a respected member of the community. His name is mentioned in a document relating to a border dispute between the towns of Briga and Triora, where Francesco Maraldi of Perinaldo was nominated for Briga as being a person with experience of architecture, and having a brother-in-law who was a professor of science and mathematics in Bologna – a reference to Giovanni Domenico Cassini who, at that early time in his career, was working there.

Giovanni Francesco Maraldi and Angela Caterina Cassini had eight children, although so far I have only been able to uncover the names of three of them:

  • Giacomo Filippo Maraldi – b. 21st August 1665,
  • Clara Maria Maraldi – b. 14th April 1667, and
  • Giovanni Domenico Maraldi – b. 14th February 1670.

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War in the region

Map of the setting for the Second Genoese-Savoyard war

The seventeenth century witnessed disturbances throughout Europe as nations and families struggled to achieve dominance and a balance of power – for a wide combination and variety of strategic, commercial, political and religious reasons. This region was no different, the wars creating significant difficulties for those living there.

The First Genoese-Savoyard war, of 1625, an element of the Thirty Years war – 1618 to 1648 – saw Savoy, France and the Netherlands combine and occupy Genoa which was then successfully relieved by Catholic Spain with its fleet defeating the Protestant French. Genoa was important to Spain as it needed a conection to its ally, the landlocked Duchy of Milan. Spain subsequently moved into Piedmont in order to keep a route open from Genoa to the Spanish Netherlands in the north – ruled by the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs from 1556 to 1714. The Spanish Netherlands comprised most of what are now the states of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France, the southern Netherlands, and western Germany with the capital being Brussels. The First Genoese-Savoyard war was ended with the Treaty of Monçon, Savoy spending the next few decades attempting to use France and Spain alternatively for support.

1672 saw the Second Genoese-Savoyard wars beginning in the region. Duke Charles Emmanuel II of Savoy-Piemont, having had an internal plot against the Genoese fail, attacked the Genoese on their territory in order to gain access to the sea. Although there were no major battles, the skirmishing saw Genoese troops attack Perinaldo which, through its coming under the rule of the Marquis of Dolceaqua and, therefore of Savoy, was besieged and captured on the 28th August 1672, the Genoese troops burning and looting the town, and desecrating the church.

The French minister, Jean Baptiste Colbert, comptroller general of finances to the French King, Louis XIV had, in September, attempted to protect the Cassini family on behalf of the French King for whom Giovanni Domenico Cassini now worked. However, their house in Perinaldo was burned and looted like the other houses in the town, and the Cassini-Maraldi family left for a place of safety. Giovanni Domenico Cassini later wrote to Colbert on the 4th November 1672 stating that he had brought the family to Nice to have them near him as he worked on his observations from Toulon.

The disturbances continued for the rest of the year but, on the 18th January 1673, with Louis XIV needing to protect French interests, peace was concluded at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the département of Yvelines, a little way to the west of Paris, with both sides returning the lands they had taken.

Despite this, and in response to Spain using the port of Genoa while moving troops, the French returned and bombarded the city for ten days between 18th and 28th May 1684, the city eventually coming under French influence.

This to be checked and more written…

Alexander G H Cassini   |   top   |   Giacomo Filippo Maraldi

The Cassini family
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