Casanova the polymath

[Casanova] excelled in mathematics no less than in philosophy. He was a competent theologian, preaching his first sermon in a Venetian church when he was not yet 16 years old. As a violinist, he earned his daily bread for a whole year in the San Samuele theatre. When he was 18 he became doctor of laws at the University of Padua—though down to the present day the Casanovists are still disputing whether the degree was genuine or spurious…He was well informed in chemistry, medicine, history, philosophy, literature, and, above all, in the more lucrative (because perplexing) sciences of astrology and alchemy…As universal dilettante, indeed, he was perfect, knowing an incredible amount of all the arts and all the sciences; but he lacked one thing, and this lack made it impossible for him to become truly productive. He lacked will, resolution, patience.

Apparently, Casanova was quite the polymath, an identity that is today a dying breed (a trend unabated by Casanova’s own breeding).