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Finé, Oronce

1. Dates
Born: Briançon, 1494
Died: Paris, 8 August 1555
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 61
2. Father
Occupation: Physician
François Finé died while Oronce Finé was an adolescent.
I assume prosperous.
3. Nationality
Birth: France
Career: France
Death: France
4. Education
Schooling: Paris, M.D.
1522, bachelor of medicine degree, Collège de Navarre (i.e., Paris). In the database, I list this as M.D. and assume the equivalent of a B.A.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Astronomy, Mathematics, Cartography
Subordinate: Astrology
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia
Secondary: Publishing
From 1515, edited astronomical and mathematical writings for editors in Paris and abroad.
1531-55, Professor of Mathematics, Collège Royal.
8. Patronage
Types: Court, Aristocracy
He entered the Collège de Navarre thanks to the influence of his countryman Antoine Sylvestre, professor at the Collège de Montaigu.
His opposition to the concordat of 1516, or a horoscope against the prince landed him in jail in 1518. He was in jail again in 1524. The duration of these stays is uncertain. When in jail in 1524, l'amiral de Bonnivet, his protector, governeur du Dauphiné, presented him to the king Francois I, who had him taken away to work on the fortifications of Milan. The king consulted with him during the seige of Pavie (Pavia?). He was a prisoner again in 1524, working on a bridge over the Tessin.
The Duke of Bourbon offered him the job of professor at the university of Pavie, but he refused.
As recompense for his work, Francois I named him Professor of Mathematics at the University of Paris.
The Dictionnaire de biographie Francaise identifies him as "sieur de Champrouet," but nothing else is said about it.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Instruments, Civil Engineering, Military Engineering, Cartography
He wrote several treatises on astronomical instruments, one similar to Apian's Astronomicum Caesareum. And a very rare ivory navicula (a type of sundial, I believe) exists which is signed "Opus Orontii F. 1524."
About 1519 Finé drew a world map in the heart-shaped projection, dedicated to François I. This projection was apparently Finé's invention. He did another world map, which first used the name Terra Australia, in 1531. In 1525 he drew a map of France, and later he did maps of the travels of Paul and of the Holy Land.
Finé wrote on the use of lunar eclipses to determine longitudes.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None known
  1. P. Hamon, "Finé," Dictionnaire de biographie Francaise, 13 (Paris, 1975), col. 1370-1. [ref. CT1003.D55 v. 13] Denis Hillars, "Orone Finé et l'horologue planetaire de la bibliothéque Sainte-Genevieve," Bibliothéque d'humanisme et renaissance, 33, (Geneva, 1971), 320f.
  2. Leo Bagrow, A. Ortelii Catalogus Cartographorum, 2 vols. Ergänzungsheften Nr. 199 & 210 zu "Petermanns Mitteilungen," (Gotha, 1928-30), 1 (Nr. 199), 63-9.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. L. Gallois, De Orontio Finaeo gallico geographico (Paris, 1890).
  2. R.P. Ross, Studies on Oronce Finé (1494-1555) (Columbia University dissertation, 1971).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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