Cesare Lombroso

(1835 - 1909)

1835. Marco Ezechia Lombroso, called Cesare, was born on 6 November in Verona to a family of Jewish merchants.


At that time, the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia was governed by Vienna, which controlled a large part of Italy, divided and ruled by absolutist governments.

1852. Lombroso enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine in Pavia. Camillo Cavour took power in the Kingdom of Sardinia, the only Italian state that had preserved the constitution emanated during the 1848 revolution

1856. Lombroso published his essay "Influenza della civiltà su la pazzia e della pazzia su la civiltà" (Influence of civilization on madness and of madness on civilization). At the Paris congress, the great powers stipulated the peace treaty that ended the Crimean War.

1858. Lombroso graduated in Pavia with a study on cretinism in Lombardy. At the thermal station of Plombières, Cavour and Napoleon III reached an accord for a war against Austria.

1859. Second War of Italian Independence: the volunteers that poured into Piedmont also included Lombroso, who enlisted as an army surgeon.

1862. As an Italian army surgeon, Lombroso took part in the fight against “brigandage”, a long and bloody civil war fed by Bourbonic and clerical tendencies but also by the demand for social justice, agrarian reform, reduced taxation and abolition of military conscription.

1866. Lombroso donned the uniform again on the occasion of the new war against Austria, which led to the annexation of Veneto.

1870. After the fall of the Second French Empire at the hands of the Prussians, the Italian army put an end to the pontifical government. Lombroso elaborated the theory of criminal atavism.

1876. The Historical Right (Destra storica) formed by Cavour’s political heirs fell and the government passed into the hands of the Historical Left (Sinistra storica). Lombroso published "L’uomo delinquente" (The Criminal Man) and became Full Professor of Forensic Medicine and Public Hygiene in the University of Turin.

1888. Lombroso, with "Troppo presto" (Too Soon), participated in the discussions on the new penal code, which was approved the following year. He also published "I Palimsesti del carcere" (The Palimpsests of Prison).

1893. The Italian Workers’ Party changed its name to the Socialist Party of Italian Workers. Together with Guglielmo Ferrero, Lombroso published "La donna delinquente, la prostituta e la donna normale" (The Criminal Woman, the Prostitute and the Normal Woman) and he joined the Turin section of the Socialist Party.

1896. The Italian colonial troops suffered a disastrous defeat at Adua in Ethiopia; the Crispi government fell. Lombroso left the Chair of Forensic Medicine for that of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Practice; he published the first two volumes of the fifth and last edition of "The Criminal Man".

1898. In Milan, the army shot into the crowd protesting against the increase in food prices. Lombroso inaugurated the Museum of Psychiatry and Criminology in the Anatomical Institutes Building.

1904. The first general strike took place. Lombroso resigned as town councillor of Turin and left the Socialist Party.

1909. The political elections resulted in consolidation of the majority government led by Giolitti. Lombroso died in Turin on 19 October.





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