Francisco de Melo and the Euclidean Tradition in Portugal

Euclid's Elements in Lisbon

Here you will find references and short discriptions of the manuscripts we've been working on. As work progresses we add content.

Printed works we are using

  • [1516], Bartholomaeus Zamberti, Lefèvre d'Étaples, BNP RES. 3080 A. [catalogue]
  • 1574, Christophorus Clavius, BNP RES. 6645 P. [catalogue]
  • 1576, Rodrigo Zamorano, BNP RES. 6646//1 P. [catalogue]
  • 1634, Ignace Stafford, BNP RES. 760 P. [catalogue]
  • 1674, Claude François Milliet de Chales, Cursus seu Mundus Mathematicus, 5 vols., BNP RES. 3092-3095 A., edition 1690 [catalogue]
  • 1693, Jacques Ozanam, Bibl. Museu de Ciência Univ. Lisboa, ULMC Res. 203-Cave 1C/5

Manuscripts under study

  • 1714, Domingos Vieira, ANTT Ms. Liv. 766
    This manuscript contains a short introduction to the mathematical sciences useful to the military, followed by book 1 to 6 and 11, 12 and part of book 13 (on the platonic solids) attributed to Euclid. The original title page has been glued to a preceding frontispice to hide the orgine of the text, saying: "Elementos de Euclides ou Geometria elementar, ditada pelo lente Domingos Vieira, em Lisboa na Aula Regia das Fortificasoins. No Anno 1714". Book 5 and 6 have both each an Apendix: "Apendiz dos equimultiplices" (p. 387), and "Apendice do algarismo das porporçoeñs e da compoziçaõ dellas" (p. 536).
  • [17th c.?], BNP COD. 1863
    This manuscript "As Prepoziçoens dos 15 Liuros de Euclides" (The propositions of Euclid's fifteen books) is slender (77 fols.). It reduces the text to the enunciations of the propositions only, omitting the definitions and the demonstrations. Figures are referred to in the margins, but they lack also. There is no explicit statement of the author/translator nor of the date. The first cover page of the volume has the note "Beja" pointing to its provenance. The version seems quite closely related to the wording of the Theonian tradition diffused by Zamberti's latin version.
  • [1700], João Thomas Correa [owner], BNP COD. 5201
    This manuscript, written in large calligraphic script contains, as stated in the title "Elementos geometricos de Evclides / os primeiros seis livros", the first six books of Euclid’s Elements. A former owner of the volume signed it "João Thomas Correa, Coronel d artelharia". Although it is not dated, the text cites Gregory of S. Vincent, Clavius, and Tacquet and "Euclides restituto" from 1680, so that the text must be composed around 1700. It contains a Scholium with a long refutation of Clavius and Cardano about the angle of contingence.
  • 1739, José Sanchez da Silva [1722, Manoel de Azevedo Fortes] (Aula de Fortifiação), BNP COD. 5194
    The codex 5194 of the National Library of Portugal BNP contains two elementary mathematical texts, the first on "Elementos das Mathematicas ou Tractado da grandeza em geral" and a second "Elementos de Euclides ou Tractado de Geometria Elementar". The latter is an abreviated version of books 1-6 and 11-12 of Euclid's Elements in a Portuguese version. A tiny note at the end of the ms. indicates that it was based on Ozanam: indeed, the text translates literally from Cours de mathématique (1693). A note on the front page of the second one states that it was dictated by José Sanchez da Silva, chief-sargent of the Infantry, teaching at the "Aula das Fortificações" in Lisbon 1739. This note, however, is a corrected version. The deleted version attributes the lessons to Manoel de Azevedo Fortes, and the original date reads 1722.


Updated: 18 January 2014