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Mathematical Treasures - Francisco Feliciano's Libro di Arithmetica

Frank J. Swetz and Victor J. Katz

Feliciano Title page

This is the title page of the 1536 edition of the Libro di Arithmetica i Geometria of Francesco Feliciano (first half of 16th century). Not much is known about Feliciano, except that he was born in Lazisa, near Verona and was still living in 1563. This book is basically a revision of Feliciano's earlier Libro de Abaco, which appeared in 1517. The book contains much commercial arithmetic, but also a treatment of roots, the rule of false position, some algebra, and a section on practical geometry. The book had a good deal of influence on the teaching of elementary mathematics, appearing in numerous editions including one in 1669, 143 years after the original edition.

Feliciano sig S, folio 3r

On sig. S, f. 3r, Feliciano shows how to calculate the circumference and area of a circle. Note that he approximates pi by 22/7 to calculate the circumference and area of a circle of diameter 14.

Feliciano sig C, f. 4v & Sig. D, f. 1r

Here, on sig C, f. 4v and sig. D, f. 1r, Feliciano illustrates the method of multiplication "per crocetta", one of several methods that were in use in the Italian Renaissance.