2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Fibonacci in Spain? Medieval Spanish Translations of Fibonacci's Liber Abaci
Raymond G. Feilner Jr
Dr. Thomas M. Capuano, Faculty Mentor

The first 16 folios of Manuscript 10106 of the Madrid National Library contain a treatise titled "Aritmética práctica" (AP), for which I have prepared the first known edition. This 15th century opuscule is often overlooked while the adjoining agricultural texts receive more attention. Scarcely more is written about AP beyond Millás Vallicrosa’s physical description of it. Perhaps its wealth of mathematics has intimidated philologists while its Old Spanish grammar has deterred mathematicians. However, it contains many interesting sections, including those on converting from Roman to Arabic numerals, multiplying mixed fractions, mind-quickening exercises, and their applications for medieval merchants. Surprisingly, the same themes are treated by Liber Abaci (LB), written in Latin in 1202 by the Italian mathematician, Fibonacci. I propose to establish that several sections of AP are vernacular translations of LB and others also derive from it by correlating AP with LB while providing its historical and mathematical backgrounds.

Keywords: Aritmética práctica, math, Spanish, trans, author, Liber Abaci, Fibonacci, fraction


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 52-5
Location: VH 1320
Time: 4:45

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