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Mathematical Treasure: Oronce Fine's Spherical World

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Oronce Finé (1494–1555) was a French mathematician and cartographer. He was a prolific author of mathematics and mathematics-related books. His De mundi sphaera (On the Heavenly Spheres), published in 1542, incorporated the use of mathematical instruments in astronomical calculations.

The frontispiece depicts the author, Orontius, receiving instructions on the heavens from the muse of astronomy, Urania.

Here we see, on adjoining pages, the medieval conceptions of the earth surrounded by concentric spheres and the interactions of the "Four Elements”.

These images are presented through the courtesy of the Dartmouth College Libraries, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Oronce Fine's Spherical World," Convergence (October 2019)