Estienne de la Roche’s appropriation of Chuquet (1484)

TitleEstienne de la Roche’s appropriation of Chuquet (1484)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHeeffer, A
EditorHunger, H
Conference Name3rd International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science

The importance of Larismethique of de La Roche, published in 1520, has been seriously underestimated. One reason for the neglect is related to the inscrutable way he is referred to. Buteo and Wallis called him Stephanus à Rupe de Lyon. Other obscure references, such as Gosselin calling him Villafrancus Gallus have been overlooked by many commentators. His influence can be determined in several works that do not credit him but use problems or definitions from the Larismethique. However, most damaging for its historical assessment was Aristide Marre?s misrepresentation of the Larismethique as a grave case of plagiarism. Marre discovered that the printed work of 1520 by Estienne de la Roche contained large fragments that were literally copied from Chuquet?s manuscript of the Triparty. Especially on the Appendice, which contains the solution to a large number of problems, Marre writes repeatedly that it is a literal copy of Chuquet. However, he fails to mention that the structure of the text of de la Roche, his solution methods and symbolism differs significantly from Chuquet. De la Roche introduces several improvements, especially with regards to the use of the second unknown. We provide an in-depth comparison of some problems solved by the so-called regle de la quantite by Chuquet with those of de la Roche. We further report on the surprising finding that Christoff Rudolff?s solution to linear problems by means of the second unknown in his Behend vnnd Hubsch Rechnung of 1525 depends on Chuquet and de la Roche. As it is generally considered that algebra was introduced in Germany through Italy this provides a new light on the transmission of algebraic knowledge from France to the rest of Europe.

Citation Keyheeffer2010estienne
Download PDF (Author PDF)
PDF author (public):