Juan de Icíar’s Practical arithmetic (1549): writing and reckoning in Spanish Renaissance. (English)

Bjarnadóttir, Kristín (ed.) et al., “Dig where you stand" 2. Proceedings of the second “International conference on the history of mathematics education", New University of Lisbon, Portugal, October 2‒5, 2011. Lisbon: UIED, Unidade de Investigação Educação e Desenvolvimento; Caparica: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciência e Tecnologia (ISBN 978-989-97487-2-9/pbk). 45-59 (2012).

Summary: Juan de Icíar (born 1522 or 1523), the most important calligrapher during the Spanish Renaissance, is also the author of a purely mathematical book, a “book titled Practical arithmetic very useful for anyone willing to be trained in reckoning" (Iciar, 1549). It is a mercantile arithmetic conceived for educational purposes, an essential book to learn the mathematical skills and the teaching thereof in Spain, in the mid-sixteenth century. This paper studies the mathematical work of Juan de Iciar within the context of the education of the new bourgeoisie (merchants, liberal professions) during the Spanish Renaissance, and establishes the relationship between “Practical arithmetic, Libro subtilissimo, and Arte Breue y Prouechoso".