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Mathematical Treasure: History of Mathematics of Vossius

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Gerardus Vossius (1577-1649) was a Dutch humanist, an educator, and a well respected scholar. He served for a period of his life as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Leiden. In his De Quatuor Artibus Popularibus, de Philologia, et Scientiis Mathematicis (1650), he surveyed the content of the four popular arts of grammar, physical education (gymnastics), music, and painting (Book I), along with his own interests of philology (Book II) and mathematics (Book III). Here is the cover of the volume:                                              

The first of the three parts (De Quatuor Artibus Popularibus) is available via Google Books. The great majority of Vossius's consideration, over 450 pages of text, is devoted to mathematics and the Chronologia mathematicorum comprises one of the earliest histories of the subject. Here is the title page of the section on mathematics:

The first page of the discussion on mathematics:                                               

The images above were obtained from the Rare Book Collection at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: History of Mathematics of Vossius," Convergence (February 2016)

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