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Mathematical Treasure: Fortification and Artillery on Corfu

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

The Greek island of Corfu occupies a strategic position at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. As such, during its history it has been subjected to occupation and fortification by several nations. The Republic of Venice secured the island in the 15th century and held it until 1797 when it passed into French hands. In affirming their occupation, the Venetians fortified the island and constructed an imposing fortress overlooking the town of Corfu. In the early part of the 18th century, they strengthened their stronghold. Teodoro Mauromatti appears to have been an Italian officer in the Venetian garrison who wrote Trassunto (1749), a mathematical handbook on fortification and artillery for his fellow officers (University of Pennsylvania reference MS Codex 332).


The “Table of Contents” provides the scope of material covered in the manuscript.


The first section of this work considered arithmetic and trigonometry and would seem to provide a geometric rational for the “circular functions.”

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. The complete item can be viewed via the given reference.


Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Fortification and Artillery on Corfu," Convergence (June 2017)