Author(s) Bullant, Jean
Title Geometrie, et horlogiographie pratique
Imprint Paris, D. Cavellat, 1608
Localisation Besançon, Bibliothèque municipale, 59139
Subject Geometry, Gnomonic, Quadrature, Sundials
Transcribed version of the text


     In 1608, under the new title Geometrie et horlogiographie pratique, Denise Cavellat published a new edition of the Petit traicte de geometrie et d’horologiographie pratique by Jean Bullant, published in 1562 by Guillaume Cavellat. Thus, more than forty years after its first edition, Jean Bullant's work remained a reference. Save a few small typographical and specific formatting details, the writings of the Duke of Montmorency's architect were published with no changes. This new edition gained by having a supplement drafted by Claude de Boissière, a learned scholar from Grenoble. This author, also known as the translator in 1582 of the Cosmography by Gemma, nicknamed Frisius (1508-1555) was interested in mathematics, poetry, music and horlogiography. In 1556, Guillaume Cavellat had published La propriété et usage des quadrans by him. It is this opuscule which his daughter Denise drew on in 1608 (p. 143). In it Claude de Boissière laid out the work and practical applications of the mathematicians Oronce Fine (1494-1555) and Pierre Apian (1495-1552). The latter was also known as Pierre Bennewitz or Bienewitz. This appended contribution, written in rather coarse French and lacking diagrams to describe the mechanisms used, is particularly difficult to understand. In contrast, it highlights the pedagogical qualities of Bullant's writing. At the end of the work appears a text, with a diagram, probably by Oronce Fine, of an hydraulic clock he invented. It ends with a table of contents for all the works of the collection.

Jean-Pierre Manceau (Tours) – 2009


Critical bibliography

J.-P. Manceau, "La place des mathématiques dans les écrits de Jean Bullant et Philibert De l’Orme", Journal de la Renaissance, 6, 2008, pp. 161-172.

P. Renouard, Imprimeurs et libraires parisiens du XVIe siècle, Fascicule Cavellat, Marnef et Cavellat, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1986, p. 159, n° 186.