Projectile Motion in a Vacuum According to Francesc Marbres, Francis of Marchia, Gerald Odonis, and Nicholas Bonet


In: Early Science and Medicine

In the third decade of the fourteenth century, the first definitive steps were taken to replace Aristotle’s theory of projectile motion and to apply the new theory to explain finite motion in a vacuum. The main actors in this shift were the Franciscan theologians Francis of Marchia, Gerald Odonis, and Nicholas Bonet, as well as Francesc Marbres, the artist formerly known as ‘John the Canon,’ but there is some confusion about their respective roles. Over the past decade, critical editions and manuscript studies of the pertinent texts of Marchia, Odonis, and Marbres have provided the raw materials to straighten out what some have considered the early background to the Galilean theory of projectile motion.


  • 5

     Marshall Clagett“Some General Aspects of Physics in the Middle Ages,” Isis39 (1948) 29-44at 41-2.

  • 8

     Marek Gensler“The Concept of Vacuum in a Scotist Physics-Commentary Attributed to Antonius Andreae,” in Individuum und Individualität im Mittelaltereds Jan A. Aertsen and Andreas Speer (Berlin 1996) 168-78.

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  • 37

     See for example Gyula Klima“John Buridan,” in Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy597a-603b at 600b-601a; Sander de Boer “Albert of Saxony” ibid. 37b-41a at 39a-b; Jack Zupko “John Buridan” in Edward N. Zalta ed. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philoso-phy (Spring 2014 Edition) URL = ; Joël Biard “Albert of Saxony” ibid.(Summer 2015 Edition) URL = .

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