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Mathematical Treasure: Herigone's Cursus Mathematicus

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Cursus mathematicus was a major French mathematical publication compiled in six volumes over the period 1634-1673. The author of this work was Pierre Hérigone, believed to be a pseudonym for the French mathematician and astronomer Clément Cyriaque de Mangin (1580-1643), who also wrote mathematical works under the name Denis Henrion. In the Cursus, the author introduced use of mathematical symbolism, some of which was unique for this time, e.g. “ \(\angle\) ” for angle and “ \(\perp\) ” for perpendicular. The second edition of Cursus, published in 1644, is shown here. The title page promises the collection will deliver mathematics “new, concise and clear.”

Hérigone's “Table of Symbols”: How many does a modern reader recognize?

The images above are provided courtesy of Columbia University Libraries.

For an image from another work by Hérigone/Henrion in Convergence, see Mathematical Treasure: Henrion's Use of the Proportional Compass.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Herigone's Cursus Mathematicus," Convergence (April 2018)