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Tarde, Jean

1. Dates
Born: La Roque-Gajac, along the Dordogne, near Sarlat, France, 1561 or 1562
Died: Sarlat, 1636
Dateinfo: cb Lifespan 75
Lifespan: N/A
2. Father
Occupation: Gentry
Although the name of the father is unknown, it is known that Tarde came from a good family, les sieurs du Pont, of bourgeois origin.
No explicit information on financial status, though it is relevant to note that members of the family of the following generation all had high positions.
3. Nationality
Birth: La Roque-Gajac, France
Career: France
Death: Sarlat, France
4. Education
Schooling: Cahors, L.D.; Paris
Received a doctorate in law from the University of Cahors. I assume a B.A.
Then continued his studies at the Sorbonne.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
Catholic, an ordained priest.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Cartography, Astronomy, Geography
Subordinate: Optics
Tarde embraced Copernicanism. He set up an observatory to observe sunspots--which he was convined were bodies orbiting the sun, and which he named the Bourbon stars.
He not only mapped his area, but he studied its geography, including the location of a city of Gaul which Caesar destroyed.
He wrote a theoretical work on the telescope.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Church Life, Personal Means, Patronage
As a priest he was assigned to the parish of Carves, near Belves.
He rose to be canon theologian of the cathedral church of Sarlat.
1594, designated vicar-general.
Henry IV named Tarde his Almoner, a position that carried income. I list this under patronage.
Tarde left a very considerable estate.
8. Patronage
Types: Eccesiastic Official, Court Official
1594, the Bishop wished to determine the effects of the religious wars in France on the diocese of Sarlat, so he named Tarde vicar-general and commissioned him to make a map of the bishopric.
Tarde mapped the neighboring diocese for the Bishop of Cahors in 1606. In compliance with the Bishop's request that he explain the small quadrant he was using, he wrote Les usages du quadrant à l'esquille aymantée (1616), which he then dedicated to the Bishop.
Henry IV named Tarde his Almoner (or military chaplain) in 1599. Tarde mistakenly identified sunspots as planets which he named after the French royal family, dedicating the book about them to the Bourbons, in the same manner as the Medician stars.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Cartography
Note the mapping work.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Albert Dujarric-Descombes, "Recherches sur les historiens du Perigord au XVIIe siecle," Bulletin de la société historique et archeologique du Perigord, 9 (1882), 371-412, 489-97.
  2. P. Humbert, "Les astronomes françaises de 1610 à 1667," Bulletin de la Société d'études scientifiques et archéologiques de Draguignan et du Var, 42 (1942), pp. 5-72.
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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