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Mathematical Treasure: Tacquet’s Elements of Geometry

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Andrea Tacquet (1612-1660) was a Jesuit who wrote many elementary mathematics textbooks for use in Jesuit schools. Tacquet’s Elementa geometriae, or Elements of Euclid with Selected Theorems of Archimedes, first published in 1654, remained popular for many years and went through many editions. In the eighth edition of 1753, we find a frontispiece of Euclid and a declaration by Isaac Barrow (1630-1677) of the divine nature of geometry.

An imaginative image of Euclid supposedly taken from a coin serves as the frontispiece:

Isaac Barrow professed and praised the divine nature of geometry. His attitude harked back to the Middle Ages in Europe, when God was viewed as the “Supreme Geometer” who designed the universe:

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the University of California Libraries. The book may be viewed in its entirety in the California Digital Library (CDL).

For images from another copy of this book, see Mathematical Treasure: Tacquet’s Euclid and Archimedes. For images from another copy of the book and also from Tacquet’s Arithmeticae Theoria et Praxis, see Mathematical Treasure: Tacquet’s Geometry and Arithmetic.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Tacquet’s Elements of Geometry," Convergence (May 2017)