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Mathematical Treasure: Claude Richard’s Apollonius’ Four Books on Conics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Claude Richard (1589–1664) was a French Jesuit and mathematician. He served as a royal mathematician for King Philip V of Spain. Richard was also appointed professor of mathematics at the Colegio Imperial of Madrid, then the most important of all Jesuit schools. Young noblemen and members of the Spanish court learned mathematics there. Attached to the Colegio was the Academia de Guardias Marinas, a training school for naval officers. It had been set up to follow a Jesuit curriculum. Richard translated several books on geometry for the use of students at the school. Among these texts was his translation of Apollonius’ Conicorum libri IV. Cum commentariis R. P. Claudii Richardi, published in 1655. As the title suggests, he added substantive commentary in an effort to bring the subject up to date.

Title page of Claude Richard's translation of and commentary on Apollonius' Conics.

The full work has been scanned for e-rara by ETH-Bibliothek Zürich.

Index of Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Claude Richard’s Apollonius’ Four Books on Conics," Convergence (August 2021)