You are here

Mathematical Treasure: Bossut's History of Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

A General History of Mathematics from the Earliest Times to the Middle of the Eighteenth Century (1803) is the English translation of the full title of Charles Bossut’s Essai sur l'histoire générale des mathématique (1803). Charles (often confused as “John”) Bossut was a French mathematician, cleric, and popular textbook writer. The English language translation was made by John Bonnycastle, a popular British textbook writer of the same period.

A special feature of this book is a “Chronological Table of the most eminent Mathematicians from the earliest times.” The Table is given here. The astute student of mathematics history should attempt to identify the given names. Should the names we can’t now identify be recognized for their work?

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

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Bossut's History of Mathematics," Convergence (January 2016)