Whatever the reason, nobody seems to have taken interest in the treatise before Warren Van Egmond inspected it in the mid-seventies during the preparation of his global survey of Italian Renaissance manuscripts concerned with practical mathematics [1976; 1980]. By then, the autonomous existence of the abbacus tradition in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was well-established; but Van Egmond noticed that the manuscript which Karpinski had examined (Vatican MS Vat. Lat. 4826, henceforth V) could be dated by watermarks to the mid-fifteenth century, and that the algebra chapter (and certain other matters) were missing from two other manuscripts which also claim to contain Jacopo’s Tractatus algorismi (Florence, Riccardiana MS 2236, undated;[5] henceforth F; and Milan, Trivulziana MS 90, c. 1410; henceforth M)[6]. Because M can be dated by watermarks to c. 1410, some 40 years before V (yet still a whole century after 1307), and since V contains rules for the fourth degree not present in the algebra of Paolo Gherardi’s Libro di ragioni from 1328, Van Egmond decided (personal communication) “that the algebra section of Vat.Lat. 4826 [was] a late 14th-century algebra text that [had] been inserted into a copy of Jacopo’s early 14th-century algorism by a mid-15th-century copyist”.


Multiplication Table Proportional Sharing Single Hand Parallel Passage Orthographic Variant 
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© Birkhäuser Verlag AG 2007

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