# Francesco Maurolico

**Francesco Maurolico** (Greek: Φραγκίσκος Μαυρόλυκος, *Frangiskos Mavrolikos*; Latin: *Franciscus Maurolycus*; *Francisci Maurolyci*; Italian: *Francesco Maurolico*; 16 September 1494 - 21/22 July 1575) was a mathematician and astronomer from Sicily. Born to a Greek family^{[1]}^{[2]} and immersed in the study of classical Greek texts,^{[3]} throughout his lifetime he made contributions to the fields of geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music, and astronomy. He edited the works of classical authors including Archimedes, Apollonius, Autolycus, Theodosius and Serenus.^{[4]} He also composed his own unique treatises on mathematics and mathematical science.^{[5]}

Franciscus Maurolycus | |
---|---|

Portrait of Francesco Maurolico. | |

Born | 1494 |

Died | 1575 (aged 81) Messina, Kingdom of Sicily |

Scientific career | |

Fields | Mathematics, geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music, and astronomy |

## LifeEdit

Born in Messina of a family of Greek descent^{[6]}^{[7]}^{[8]}^{[9]}^{[10]} who originated in Constantinople,^{[11]}^{[12]} they settled in this Sicilian city after the Fall of Constantinople (1453).^{[13]} Recent studies seem indeed to indicate that the family settled in Messina at the end of 15th century.^{[14]} Maurolico received a solid education. His father, Antonio (that later became Master of Messina mint), and his teachers Francesco Faraone and Giacomo Notese-Genovese studied under the Neoplatonic Hellenic scholar Constantine Lascaris. The Maurolico family had a villa outside the city (at Contrada Annunziata).

In 1521, Maurolico took holy orders. In 1550, he entered the Benedictine Order and became a monk at the monastery of Santa Maria del Parto a Castelbuono. Two years later, he was consecrated as abbot at the Cattedrale San Nicolò di Messina.

## AccomplishmentsEdit

In 1535 Maurolico collaborated with the painter Polidoro Caldara da Caravaggio for the realization of the triumphal arches (composing the Latin inscriptions for this *apparato*) for the entry in Messina of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Like his father, he also became head of the Messina mint and for a time was in charge of maintaining the fortifications of the city on behalf of Charles V. Maurolico tutored the two sons of Charles's viceroy in Sicily, Juan de Vega, and had the patronage of many rich and powerful men. He also corresponded with scholars such as Clavius and Federico Commandino.
In 1547 he collaborated with the sculptor Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli for the creation of the famous *Orion Fountain* in Messina. By Maurolico are the Latin inscriptions on the ground-level basin of the fountain and, probably, most of the Neoplatonic program for this monumental civic sculpture.^{[15]} Between 1548 and 1550, he stayed at the castle of Pollina in Sicily as a guest of the marquis Giovanni II Ventimiglia, and utilized the castle tower in order to carry out astronomical observations.

Maurolico's astronomical observations include a sighting of the supernova that appeared in Cassiopeia in 1572. Tycho Brahe published details of his observations in 1574; the supernova is now known as Tycho's Supernova.

In 1569, he was appointed professor at the University of Messina.

## WorksEdit

- Maurolico's
*Photismi de lumine et umbra*and*Diaphana*concern the refraction of light and attempted to explain the natural phenomenon of the rainbow. He also studied the camera obscura.*Photismi*were completed in 1521,*Diaphana*first part 1523, the second and third ones in 1552, but all the material was published posthumously only in 1611. - His
*Arithmeticorum libri duo*(1575) includes the first known proof by mathematical induction.^{[16]} - His
*De momentis aequalibus*(completed in 1548, but first published only in 1685) attempted to calculate the barycenter of various bodies (pyramid, paraboloid, etc.). - In his
*Sicanicarum rerum compendium*, he presented the history of Sicily, and included some autobiographical details. He had been commissioned to write this work, and in 1553 the Senate of Messina granted him a salary of 100 gold pieces per year for two years so that he could finish this work and his works on mathematics. - His
*De Sphaera Liber Unus*(1575) contains a fierce attack against Copernicus' heliocentrism, in which Maurolico writes that Copernicus “deserved a whip or a scourge rather than a refutation”.^{[17]} - Maurolico published a
*Cosmographia*in which he described a methodology for measuring the earth, which was later employed by Jean Picard in measuring length of meridian arc in 1670. - Maurolico published an edition of Aristotle's
*Mechanics*, and a work on music. He summarized Ortelius's*Theatrum orbis terrarum*and also wrote*Grammatica rudimenta*(1528) and*De lineis horariis*. He made a map of Sicily, which was published in 1575. - Maurolico worked on ancient mathematical texts: Theodosius of Bithynia, Menelaus of Alexandria, Autolycus of Pitane, Euclid, Apollonius of Perga and Archimedes. He did not make new translations, but working on the existing ones, he provided new and sound interpretations of Greek mathematics.

## Death and legacyEdit

He died at Messina.

The lunar crater Maurolycus is named after him.

There is a school in Messina with his name.

In 2009 the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage has ordained the establishment of the *Edizione nazionale dell'opera matematica di Francesco Maurolico* (National Edition of Maurolico's mathematical oeuvre).

## See alsoEdit

## ReferencesEdit

**^**Sasaki, Chikara (2003).*Descartes's mathematical thought*. Springer. p. 43. ISBN 1-4020-1746-4.Here it is enough to note that the very first Jesuit college at Messina had already produced the influential Greek mathematician Francesco Maurolico.

**^**Wilbur Applebaum, Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton, Routledge - 2000, page 5??**^**Bernard R. Goldstein, From Summetria to Symmetry: The Making of a Revolutionary Scientific Concept: The Making of a Revolutionary Scientific Concept, Springer - 2008, page 85**^**Galluzzi. Paolo (1984).*Novità celesti e crisi del sapere*. Banca toscana. p. 132. OCLC 59935636.Francesco Maurolico (1494-1575) Maurolico was a Sicilian, descended from Greek immigrants. He had an active career as civil servant, abbot, historian, and teacher. His passion was for mathematics, and his aim was to restore European knowledge of the ancient Greek mathematical achievement To the latter end, he vigorously pursued his own mathematical studies; edited the works of Archimedes, Apollonius, Autolycus, Theodosius, and Serenus; summarized and commented on Euclid's Elements; paraphrased and edited various medieval mathematical works or medieval translations of ancient works; and composed his own original treatises on mathematics and mathematical science.

**^**Galluzzi. Paolo (1984).*Novità celesti e crisi del sapere*. Banca toscana. p. 132. OCLC 59935636.Francesco Maurolico (1494-1575) Maurolico was a Sicilian, descended from Greek immigrants. He had an active career as civil servant, abbot, historian, and teacher. His passion was for mathematics, and his aim was to restore European knowledge of the ancient Greek mathematical achievement To the latter end, he vigorously pursued his own mathematical studies; edited the works of Archimedes, Apollonius, Autolycus, Theodosius, and Serenus; summarized and commented on Euclid's Elements; paraphrased and edited various medieval mathematical works or medieval translations of ancient works; and composed his own original treatises on mathematics and mathematical science.

**^**Clagett, Marshall; Archimedes (1988).*Archimedes in the Middle Ages, Volume 3*. The American Philosophical Society. p. 749. ISBN 0-87169-125-6.Initially, we should observe that Francesco Maurolico (or Maruli or Maroli) was born in Messina on 16 September 1494, of a Greek family which had fled Constantinople after its fall to the Turks in 1453 and settled in Messina.

**^**Scoular, Spencer (2005).*The Unlimited Infinite: Exploring the Philosophy of Mathematics*. Universal Publishers. p. 74. ISBN 1-58112-470-8.Italian geometrician of Greek origin, Francesco Maurolico (1494- 1575) independently discovered the method of mathematical induction

**^**Burdick, Bruce Stanley (2009).*Mathematical works printed in the Americas, 1554-1700*. JHU Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-8018-8823-9.Francesco Maurolico (1494–1575)... Maurolico was from a Greek family that had escaped the Turks by fleeing to Sicily.

**^**Burton, David M. (1999).*The history of mathematics: an introduction*. WCB McGraw-Hill. p. 425. ISBN 0-07-009468-3.Francesco Maurolico (1494-1575) is generally acknowledged to have been one of the foremost mathematicians of the sixteenth century. Born in Sicily of Greek parents, he was an ordained priest, at one time an abbot, and for many years

**^**Boyer, Carl Benjamin; Merzbach, Uta C. (1991).*A history of mathematics*. Wiley. p. 301. ISBN 0-471-54397-7.classical works of antiquity continued strong, as we see in the case of Maurolico, a priest of Greek parentage who was born, lived, and died in Sicily. Maurolico was a scholarly geometer who did much to revive interest in the more advanced of the antique works.

**^**Ffolliott, Sheila (1984).*Civic sculpture in the Renaissance: Montorsoli's fountains at Messina*. UMI Research Press. p. 204. ISBN 0-8357-1474-8.A Greek intellectual community had settled there in the fifteenth century, Maurolico himself having been the product of a family of Constantinopolitan origins.

**^**Cotterell, John (1996).*Social Networks and Social Influences in Adolescence*. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 0-415-10973-6.Francisco Maurolico, the son of Greek refugees from Constantinople, spread an interest in number theory through his study of arithmetic in two books published in 1575 after his death.

**^**Clagett, Marshall; Archimedes (1988).*Archimedes in the Middle Ages, Volume 3*. The American Philosophical Society. p. 749. ISBN 0-87169-125-6.Initially, we should observe that Francesco Maurolico (or Maruli or Maroli) was born in Messina on 16 September 1494, of a Greek family which had fled Constantinople after its fall to the Turks in 1453 and settled in Messina.

**^**"MAUROLICO, Francesco" by Rosario Moscheo,*Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani*, Volume 72 (2008).**^**Russo, Attilio (2001).*La fontana del Sirio d’Orione, o delle metamorfosi*, in “Città & Territorio”, II/2001, Messina 2001, pp. 30-41.**^**Vacca, G. (1909). "Maurolycus, the first discoverer of the principle of mathematical induction".*Bull. Amer. Math. Soc*.**16**(2): 70–73. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1909-01860-9. MR 1558845.**^**Rosen, Edward (April 1957). "Maurolico's attitude toward Copernicus".*Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society*.**101**(2): 177–194.

## SourcesEdit

- (in Italian)The Maurolico project - Electronic edition of the scientific works of Francesco Maurolico
- (in Italian) Francesco Maurolico
- (in English) The Galileo Project: Francesco Maurolico
- (in English) J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, "Maurolico"
- (in French) The Maurolico project - Electronic edition of the scientific works of Francesco Maurolico