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Jacopo da Firenze's Tractatus Algorismi and Early Italian Abbacus Culture.: HOYRUP, Jens (1943...

Jacopo da Firenze's Tractatus Algorismi and Early Italian Abbacus Culture.

HOYRUP, Jens (1943-).

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ISBN 10: 3764383909 / ISBN 13: 9783764383909
Published by Birkhauser, (2007)., Basel, Boston, Berlin:, 2007
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About this Item

Series: Science Networks Historical Studies, vol. 34. 8vo. xii, 482 pp. inscription by author and owner's name on fly leaf, figs. diags. INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR; ownership signature of Barnabas Hughes. Very good +. Scarce. One of the first treatises on the abacus and the first to give algebra. This text translates into English a manuscript copy from ca. 1450. ISBN: 9783764383909. Bookseller Inventory # S11681

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Jacopo da Firenze's Tractatus Algorismi and ...

Publisher: Birkhauser, (2007)., Basel, Boston, Berlin:

Publication Date: 2007

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title


This book deals with one of the earliest surviving "abbacus" treatises, one that is by far more orderly than any of the extant predecessors and is also the first to contain a presentation of algebra. The book contains an edition and an English translation of a manuscript from c. 1450. In addition, it features an extensive discussion of the contents of the treatise and its location within early abbacus culture.

From the Back Cover:

In the city republics of Renaissance Italy, it was a common practice among the merchant class to send sons for a two-year course of study at an "abbacus school", where they learned practical, mostly commercial mathematics, known as abbaco. From this school institution, several hundred manuscripts survive, all in Italian, often containing not only what the masters needed in their teaching but also algebra or other advanced mathematical material. A signal feature of the book by Jens Høyrup is the first translation of one of these abbacus manuscripts into English.

The abbacus books have long been supposed to be reduced versions of Leonardo Fibonacci’s Liber abbaci. Analysis of early abbacus books, not least of the first specimen treating of algebra – Jacopo da Firenze’s Tractatus algorismi from 1307 – shows instead that abbacus mathematics was an exponentof a more widespread culture of commercial mathematics, already known by Fibonacci, and probably flourishing in Provence and/or Catalonia before it reached Italy. Abbacus algebra – eventually the main inspiration for the algebraic breakthrough of the 16th and 17th centuries – was inspired from a Romance-speaking region outside Italy, most likely located in the Provençal-Catalan area, and ultimately from a similar practitioners’ level of Arabic mathematics.

The book contains, along with the English translation, an edition of Jacopo’s Tractatus and a commentary analyzing Jacopo’s mathematics and its links to Provençal, Catalan, Arabic, Indian and Latin medieval mathematics. It will provide historians of mathematics and mathematics teachers with a new perspective on a period and on processes which eventually reshaped the whole mathematical enterprise in the 17th century.

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