Michele Lessona was an Italian zoologist, physician, Senator and writer. A dedicated Darwinian, Lessona translated many of Charles Darwin’s works into Italian. In 1862, Professor Lessona was appointed physician to the diplomatic delegation sent to Persia to establish relations between the newly created Kingdom of Italy and the Persian government. Fascinated by the life and teachings of the Bab, Lessona wrote a small monograph called “I Babi”, published in 1881.  

“Forty years ago, in the city of Shiraz, there left childhood and entered puberty a youth that for his singular potency of intellect, for his extraordinary application to study, his profound religious tendencies, his loving nature, for his energy of character, grace of body and beauty of countenance, awakened admiration and affection in everyone who had occasion to deal with him, and captivated all the love of his teachers and relatives. The name of this youth was Mirza Ali-Muhammad…

His style was imaginative and sublime, not like anything human; thus to his quality of a most eloquent orator he added that of an inimitable writer. And while he preached, discussed and taught in the mosques, in the colleges, in the streets, in his house, everywhere they were reading aloud his verses, often interrupting with cries of the most ardent admiration. In all of Shiraz they did not speak of anything else but the Bab, everyone was filled with enthusiasm for him…

The house of the Bab was crowded, night and day, with new converts to his faith; to him came men rich in possessions, men of intellect and energy, and among the very first many mullas enrolled under his banner…”

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