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Ghetaldi [Ghettaldi], Marino

1. Dates
Born: Ragusa (Dubrovnik), c. 1566
Died: Ragusa, 11 Apr. 1627 (I follow Favaro; DSB and Wieleitner say 1626)
Dateinfo: Both Dates Uncertain
Lifespan: 61
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat
Matteo Ghetaldi was from a patrician family originally from Taranto, Italy. On all of his books of which I have seen the full title cited, Ghetaldi styled himself a patrician of Ragusa.
From the pattern of Ghetaldi's life, the family had to have been affluent at the least.
3. Nationality
Birth: Yugoslav Area (I leave this designation, but it does seem. misleading to me. The family was Italian, and I gather that the city, or at least its ruling class, was essentially Italian at that time.)
Career: Yugoslav Area
Death: Yugoslav Area
4. Education
Schooling: No University
As a young man, after his education in Ragusa, he moved to Rome and then traveled extensively (six years) through Europe. In Rome he came under the influence of Christopher Clavius. He then went to Antwerp to study with Michel Coignet. Thence he moved to Paris, where he associated with Viète. He was in England for two years. There is no mention of a degree, nor would one have been relevant to a patrician.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Primary: Mth
Subordinate: Physics, Optics
He produced a pamphlet with the solutions of 42 geometrical problems, Variorum problematum colletio, in 1607. The method used in some of the solutions suggests that he was alreasy applying methods of algebra to geometry.
His other publications were studies on Archimedes and on Apollonius.
He did experimental work on the specific gravity of solids and liquids.
He apparently experimented with burning glasses.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means, City Magistrate
For a number of years he lived the peripatetic life of a scholar, obviously in no need to concern himself with earning a living. During this time he was offered a chair at the University of Louvain, but he did not accept.
From 1603 he held various public and legal positions in Ragusa. I am assuming that some of these positions carried salaries.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Aristrocrat, Eccesiastic Official
Ghetaldi dedicated his first work to Clavius and another to Marino Gozze, his companion on his youthful wandering. Frankly neither of these sound like patronage given the realities of Ghetaldi's station.
Viète permitted Ghetaldi to oversee the publication of De potestatum resolutione, c. 1600. Ghetaldi was then aspiring to a name in mathematics, and this relation does sound like patronage, though of course not monetary.
He dedicated a work on Apollonius to Paolo Emilio Cesi, a distant cousin (also an aristocrat) of Federico Cesi.
He dedicated other mathematical works to Card. Serafino Olivier and to Pope Paul V.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
He was friendly with Sarpi in Padua, and he knew Galileo.
In 1621 his name was included in a list of scientists proposed for membership in the Accademia dei Lincei. He was not nominated because he returned to Ragusa, and the Academy did not know his whereabouts.
  1. A. Favaro, "Marino Ghetaldi," Amici e corrisponsdenti di Galileo, 3 vols. (Firenze, 1983), 2, 911-34.
  2. H. Wieleitner, "Marino Ghetaldi und die Anfänge der Koordinatengeometrie," Bibliotheca mathematica, 3rd ser., 13, pp. 242-247. QA2 .G3B5. SWAIN HALL.
  3. P. Riccardi, Biblioteca matematica italiana, 2, 74.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. G. Barbieri, "Marino Ghetaldi," in Pietro F. Martecchini, Galleria di Ragusei illustri, (Ragusa, 1840).
  2. Ab. Simeone Gliubich [Sime Ljubie], Dizionaria biografico degli uomini illustri della Dalmatia, (Vienna, 1856), pp. 142-3.
  3. E. Gelcich, "Eine Studie über die Entstehung der Analytischen Geometrie mit Berücksichtigung eines Werkes des Marino Ghetaldi Patrizier Ragusaer. Aus dem Jahre 1630," Abhandlungen zur Geschichte des Mathematick, 4 (1882), 191- 231.
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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