Lovers in Paratexts

Oronce Fine’s Republic of Mathematics

in Nuncius
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In the 1520s, Oronce Fine addressed a “republic of mathematics.” The term captured Fine’s goals for an emerging discipline. Fine, the first professor of mathematics of the Collège Royal in Paris (est. 1530), turned to the language of amicitia and scholarly love to make space in the Republic of Letters for mathematics. Such language drew on an ethics of scholarly love which animated his predecessors in Paris, the circle of Jacques Lefèvre d’ Étaples. This article considers Fine and his colleagues’ efforts to imagine a public – and so reimagine a discipline – using the language of love in the letters, poems, and other paratexts that layered the technical books he authored. The vantage point of mathematical studies shows how practitioners could use the notion of amateur to garner support for their discipline while levelling social distinctions.

Lovers in Paratexts

Oronce Fine’s Republic of Mathematics

in Nuncius

Sections

References

1

Oronce FineAequatorium planetarum unico instrumento comprehensum (Paris: Nicolas Calceolarius1526) sig. A2r–v. This letter is edited in Emmanuel Poulle Equatoires et horlogerie planétaire du XIIIe au XVIe siècle Vol. 2 (Geneva and Paris: Droz and Champion 1980) p. 753. “Itaque vir rarissime rempublicam mathematicam pro nostra virili parte facilitare et studiosos astornomiae utcunque juvare cupientes presens excogitavimus et tandem edidimus planetarum equatorium […].”

2

Reijer HooykaasHumanisme Science et Réforme: Pierre de La Ramée (1515–1572) (Leiden: Brill1958) p. 84; Jean-Claude Margolin “L’ enseignement des mathématiques en France (1540–70): Charles de Bovelles Fine Peletier Ramus” in French Renaissance Studies 1540–70: Humanism and the Encyclopedia edited by Peter Sharratt (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1976) p. 112. “In Gallia non tanta sunt studia Mathematum. Imo aliqui ex nostris Auditoribus in Gallia docentes Mathemata hoc labore se sustentarunt.” In C.G. Bretschneider (ed.) Philippi Melanthonis Opera Corpus Reformatorum VII (Halle: Schwetschke and Son 1879) ep. 4639 col. 514.

3

Isabelle Pantin“Teaching Mathematics and Astronomy in France: The Collège Royal (1550–1650),” Science & Education2006 15:189–207 pp. 194–195. On Ramus’ histories of mathematics see Robert Goulding “Method and Mathematics: Peter Ramus’ Histories of the Sciences” Journal of the History of Ideas 2006 67/1:63–85; Robert Goulding Defending Hypatia: Ramus Savile and the Renaissance Rediscovery of Mathematical History (New York: Springer 2010).

8

Anthony Grafton“A Sketch Map of a Lost Continent: The Republic of Letters,” Republic of Letters2009 1/1. Republished in Anthony Grafton Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press 2009) pp. 1–34. For a critique of such rich metaphors as saying more than they explain see Caspar Hirschi “Republicans of Letters Memory Politicians Global Colonialists: Historians in Recent Histories of Historiography” The Historical Journal 2012 55/3:857–881.

10

Alexander Marr (ed.)The Worlds of Oronce Fine. Mathematics Instruments and Print in Renaissance France (Donington: Shaun Tyas2009); Angela Axworthy Le Statut des mathématiques en France au XVIe siècle: le cas d’ Oronce Fine (PhD thèse Université de François-Rabelais 2011 revised and forthcoming as Le Mathématicien renaissant et son savoir. Le statut des mathématiques selon Oronce Fine Paris: Classique Garnier).

14

Isabelle Pantin“L’ illustration des livres d’ astronomie à la renaissance: l’ évolution d’ une discipline à travers ses images,” in Immagini per conoscere. Dal Rinascimento alla Rivoluzione scientificaedited by Fabrizio Meroi and Claudio Pogliano (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki 2001) pp. 3–42; Isabelle Pantin “Oronce Fine’s Role as Royal Lecturer” in The Worlds of Oronce Fine edited by Marr (cit. note 10) pp. 13–30; Isabelle Pantin “Altior incubuit animus sub imagine mundi. L’ inspiration du cosmographe d’ après un gravure d’ Oronce Finé” in Les méditations cosmographiques à la Renaissance (Paris: Presses de l’ Université Paris-Sorbonne 2009) pp. 69–90; Isabelle Pantin “The Astronomical Diagrams in Oronce Fine’s Protomathesis (1532): Founding a French Tradition?” Journal for the History of Astronomy 2010 41/3:287–310.

15

Isabelle Pantin“Oronce Finé mathématicien et homme du livre: la pratique éditoriale comme moteur d’ évolution,” in Mise en forme des savoirs à la Renaissance: A la croisée des idées des techniques et des publicsedited by Isabelle Pantin and Gérald Péoux (Paris: Armand Colin 2013) pp. 19–40.

26

Charles de BovellesLivre singulier et utile touchant l’ art et practique de Geometrie composé nouvellement en Francoys (Paris: Simon Colines1542).

29

Eugene F. Rice Jr.“The Patrons of French Humanism, 1490–1520,” in Renaissance Studies in Honor of Hans Baronedited by Anthony Molho and John A. Tedeschi (Dekalb IL: Northern Illinois University Press 1971) pp. 687–702.

33

E.g. Elizabeth May McCahill“Finding a Job as a Humanist: The Epistolary Collection of Lapo Da Castiglionchio the Younger,” Renaissance Quarterly2004 57:1308–1345; Mark P.O. Morford Stoics and Neostoics: Rubens and the Circle of Lipsius (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press 1991). As McCahill points out the letters to Atticus and Quintus and then the letters Ad familiares were rediscovered in the fourteenth century (p. 1309). Cicero’s treatise on friendship Pro Laelio was widely read throughout the middle ages and informed a monastic discourse on amicitia: Julian Haseldine “Understanding the Language of Amicitia. The Friendship Circle of Peter of Celle (c. 1115–1183)” Journal of Medieval History 1994 20/3:237–260. An exception to this focus on Cicero is Ullrich Langer Perfect Friendship: Studies in Literature and Moral Philosophy from Boccaccio to Corneille (Geneva: Droz 1994).

45

Didier KahnAlchimie et Paracelsisme en France à la fin de la Renaissance (1567–1625) (Genève: Droz2007).

46

Jean FernelDe proportionibus libri duo (Paris: Simon Colines1528) sig. a4r. “Non itaque prorsus inscite antiquis philosophis literarum monimentis consecratum est harmoniam unicum rerum principium esse.”

47

Alain de VarennesDe amore dialogus de luce dialogi etc. (Paris: Henri Estienne1512).

51

A good example is Lesley B. Cormack“Mathematics and Empire: The Military Impulse and the Scientific Revolution,” in The Heirs of Archimedes: Science and the Art of War through the Age of Enlightenmentedited by Brett D. Steele and Tamera Dorland Dibner Institute Studies in the History of Science and Technology (Cambridge MA: MIT Press 2005) pp. 181–203.

54

Jules Étienne Joseph QuicheratHistoire de Sainte-Barbe (Paris: L. Hachette1860) pp. 125–127.

55

Michael WintroubA Savage Mirror: Power Identity and Knowledge in Early Modern France (Stanford: Stanford University Press2006) p. 27; Ina Baghdiantz McCabe Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade Exoticism and the Ancien Régime (New York: Berg 2008) pp. 69–71.

56

Jean FernelMonalosphaerium partibus constans quatuor (Paris: Simon Colines1527) sig. a6r–v.

57

Jean FernelCosmotheoria libros duos complexa (Paris: Simon Colines1528) fol. 5v–6v.

66

Oronce FineProtomathesis (Paris: G. Morhii1532) AA2v. “Desiderabam igitur aliquid melioris elucidationis rei mathematicae posse praestare: et futuros bonarum artium amatores hac saltem in parte dirigere.”

67

Oronce FineDe mundi sphaera sive cosmographia (Paris: Simon de Colines1542). See also Agostino Ricci De motu octauæ sphæræ opus mathematica atq[ue] philosophia plenum edited by Oronce Fine (Paris: Simon de Colines 1521) fol. 1v–2r. In the prefatory letter Fine explains that students asked him for the book “especially Nicolas de Prato a much beloved friend to me and worthy of my thanks beyond the rest” to print the book “for them and for all lovers of mathematics” “Quem quidem libellum cum nostris ostentassem auditoribus […] orarunt statim (praecipue Nicolaus a Pratis nostri amantissimus et praeter reliquos de nobis bene meritus) ut eundem libellum ipsis et omnibus Mathematicarum cultoribus officio artis impressoriae communicarem.”

68

Oronce FineDe mundi sphaera sive Cosmographia (Paris: Michel de Vascovan1555) sig. *2v. “partim ut auditoribus nostris partim vero caeteris rerum caelestium amatoribus […] faceremus.”

82

Jacques PeletierIn Euclidis Elementa Geometrica demonstrationum libri sex (Lyon: Jean de Tournes and Guillaume Gazeau1557) sig. A4r. “Eius quippe rationes non persuadent sed cogunt.”

84

Isabelle Pantin“Les problèmes spécifiques de l’ édition des livres scientifiques à la Renaissance: l’ exemple de Guillaume Cavellat,” in Le Livre dans l’ Europe de la RenaissanceColloque Tours 1985 (Paris: Promodis 1988) pp. 240–252.

85

Jacques PeletierL’ aritmetique du Iacques Peletier du Mans departie en quatre livres à Theodore Debesze (Paris: Marnef1549).

86

Natalie Zemon Davis“Sixteenth-Century French Arithmetics on the Business Life,” Journal of the History of Ideas1960 21/1:18–48.

87

Víctor Navarro-Brotóns“The Teaching of the Mathematical Disciplines in Sixteenth-Century Spain,” Science & Education2006 15/2–4:209–233; María Portuondo Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2009).

88

Mario Biagioli“The Social Status of Italian Mathematicians,” History of Science1989 27/1:41–95; Monica Azzolini The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan (Boston: Harvard University Press 2013). More generally Biagioli suggested comparative perspective on authorship and credit in the context of relationships between patrons and expert-practitioners: Mario Biagioli “Scientific Revolution Social Bricolage and Etiquette” in The Scientific Revolution in National Context edited by Roy Porter and Mikulás Teich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1992) pp. 11–54; idem “Le prince et les savants. La civilité scientifique au 17e siècle” Annales. Histoire science sociales 1995 6:1417–1453; idem “Etiquette Interdependence and Sociability in Seventeenth-Century Science” Critical Inquiry 1996 22/2:193–238.

89

Robert S. Westman“The Melanchthon Circle, Rheticus, and the Wittenberg Interpretation of the Copernican Theory,” Isis1975 66/2:164–193; Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer Humanismus zwischen Hof und Universität: Georg Tanstetter (Collimitius) und sein wissenschaftliches Umfeld im Wien des frühen 16. Jahrhunderts (Vienna: WUV-Universitüts Verlag 1996).

90

Stephen Johnston“The Identity of the Mathematical Practitioner in 16th-Century England,” in Der “mathematicus”: Zur Entwicklung und Bedeutung einer neuen Berufsgruppe in der Zeit Gerhard Mercatorsedited by Irmgarde Hantsche (Bochum: Brockmeyer 1996) pp. 93–120. Consider also the urban context of mathematical practitioners explored Deborah E. Harkness The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press 2007).

92

Alexander MarrBetween Raphael and Galileo: Mutio Oddi and the Mathematical Culture of Late Renaissance Italy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press2011) chapter 3.

93

I owe this reference to Alexander Marr“Walther Ryff, Plagiarism and Imitation in Sixteenth-Century Germany,” Print Quarterly2014 31:131–143 at p. 140; see also Julian Jachmann Die Architekturbücher des Walter Hermann Ryff: Vitruvrezeption im Kontext mathematischer Wissenschaften (Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag 2006) p. 52.

95

See Richard J. Oosterhoff“ ‘Secrets of Industry’ for ‘Vulgar Men’: Early French Readerships of Technical Print,” in Translating Early Modern Scienceedited by Sietske Fransen and Niall Hodson (Leiden: Brill forthcoming 2017).

97

Abraham BosseSentimens sur la distinction des diverses manières de peinture dessein et graveure et des originaux d’ avec leurs copies (Paris: Abraham Bosse1649) pp. 3 17 et passim. For later distinctions of these categories see Rochelle Ziskin Sheltering Art: Collecting and Social Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century Paris (University Park PA: Pennsylvania State Press 2012) pp. 205–206.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Figure 1

    Bovelles, Geométrie practique [ed. Fine] (Paris: Chaudière, 1551), Cambridge University Library Syn.5.55.7, 49v, detail of the hedera typical of Fine’s technical illustrations. The woodblocks for this publication were used already in the first edition of 1542. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library

  • View in gallery
    Figure 2

    Lefèvre, Textus de sphaera (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1538), Houghton f EC-Sa147S-1527, title page in which Fine set himself at full length below the celestial “type of the universal sphere”

  • View in gallery
    Figure 3a

    Oronce Fine, Arithmetica practica […], 3rd ed. (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1542), Cambridge University Library Eee.122, fols. 67r v, where the new “author’s conclusion” to the friendly reader thickens the layers of paratexts ending the work. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library

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    Figure 3b
  • View in gallery
    Figure 4

    Fine, Le sphere du monde, autograph presentation copy for Francis I, Harvard, Houghton Library Ms Typ 57, fol. 3v, with Fine’s new poem to the “benevolent reader”

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