By Jacqueline A. Stedall
A Discourse touching on Algebra, presents a brand new and readable account of the increase of algebra in England from the Medieval interval to the later years of the seventeenth Century.Stedall's publication follows the reception and dissemination of vital algebraic principles and strategies from continental Europe and the resultant revolution within the nation of English arithmetic within the seventeenth century.
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Additional resources for A Discourse Concerning Algebra: English Algebra to 1685
43 Little is known about Ville Dieu, but he was sometimes described as Dolensis, which suggests that he came from the region close to Mont Dol and Mont St Michel in northern France, probably from the town now known as Villedieules-Poêles. He also wrote a computus, a text on the reckoning of date and time, also in verse. 26 HOW ALGEBRA WAS ENTERTAINED AND CULTIVATED IN EUROPE Fig. 1 The ﬁnal verse of the Carmen de algorismo of Alexander Ville Dieu, and a multiplication table with a list of squares and cubes (Bodleian Library MS Savile 17, f.
99 Where Gerardi had treated ﬁfteen equation types, Dardi treated no fewer than 194, including some with fourth powers, all, however, reducible by a simple substitution to one of al-Khwārizmī's six basic forms. 100 Later authors repeated his rules for these equations as though they applied generally, without stating the special conditions under which they applied. One further manuscript from this period deserves special mention as the ﬁrst attempt to explore the history of algebra. 101 Benedetto questioned the 38 HOW ALGEBRA WAS ENTERTAINED AND CULTIVATED IN EUROPE generality of some of the existing suggestions for solving cubic equations and so appears to have been a rather better mathematician than some of his predecessors.
83 A somewhat similar fate had befallen Bradwardine whose work was ﬁrst published in Paris in 1495 but who was unknown to Vossius, while Wallis knew of him only through Oxford manuscripts. That the work of Wallingford, Bradwardine and Swineshead was so little appreciated in England is a sign of the low level of interest in things mathematical during the late ﬁfteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The English mathematics considered so far has consisted of algorism, computus, natural philosophy, and astronomy intertwined with astrology.