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Mathematical Treasure: Peverone's Arithmetic and Geometry

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Giovanni Francesco Peverone (ca 1509–1559) was an Italian reckoning master and/or instrument maker who is known to have published two books on arithmetic and geometry. The first of these, published in 1558, consisted of two "brief and easy books"; Due brevi e facili trattati, Il primo d’Arithmetice: l’altro di Geometriae .... The title page bears a likeness of the author.


The first pages on arithmetic begin with a discussion of numbers and addition.



The discussion on the operation of multiplication begins with what the author calls “The Third Rule of Arithmetic.”



A discussion of common fractions, “De Numeri Rotti,” begins on page 22.



The important “Rule of Partnership” is discussed and illustrated by several problems.



Physical analogies are used to introduce the extraction of roots of squares.





Geometry instruction includes the calculation of volumes, of some standard polyhedral shapes and of a wine barrel. Units of volume measure are also included.



In 1581, Peverone published Arithmetica e geometria, which was a revision and expansion of his previous work.


A convenient “Table of Contents” allows an inspection of the scope of material covered.


Since the book on arithmetic is so similar to the previous edition, a few images from the discussions on geometry are presented here.


The opening pages consider basic definitions and concepts.



Surveying techniques are also included in the discussion of geometry.



The images of both books above are provided courtesy of the National Central Library of Rome via Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures 

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Peverone's Arithmetic and Geometry," Convergence (April 2018)