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Mathematical Treasures - Thomas Digges' Pantometria

Frank J. Swetz and Victor J. Katz



This is the title page of A Geometrical Practise Named Pantometria, a guide to applied geometry published by Thomas Digges (1546-1595) in 1571. Pantometria was completed by Thomas from a manuscript left by his father, Leonard Digges, who died when Thomas was 13 years old. After his father's death, Thomas became the ward of John Dee (1527-1609), sometime scientific advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. Thomas was greatly influenced by Dee, and remained friends with him throughout his life. Thomas Digges became a recognized astronomer and the leader of the English Copernicans.



This diagram shows how to measure the height of a tower using a quadrant.



This diagram shows how to use a plane table to take sightings on a fortified city during a siege.

Both Leonard and Thomas Digges, father and son, wrote about military applications of mathematics. See also images from Tectonicon and from Stratioticos, by Leonard Digges.

Index to Mathematical Treasures​

Frank J. Swetz and Victor J. Katz, "Mathematical Treasures - Thomas Digges' Pantometria," Convergence (January 2011)

Mathematical Treasures from the Smith and Plimpton Collections at Columbia University