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All things began in Order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again, according to the Ordainer of Order, and the mystical mathematicks of the City of Heaven.
Hydriotaphia, Urn-burial and the Garden of Cyrus, 1896.
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Mathematical Treasure: Waymouth's 'Jewell of Artes'
In a December 2007 news release, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University announced its 2008 exhibit, “The Reckoner’s Art: Reading and Writing Mathematics in Early Modern England,” as follows.
In the page from the "Jewell" shown above, Waymouth gave three examples of galley division. In each case, the results of the computation were checked by the use of the inverse operation of multiplication. Thus, for the first problem, we see 522785777625368 divided by 1234567, with the result 423456789. The quotient was then multiplied by the divisor to obtain the original dividend. The use of large numbers, and particularly numbers composed of consecutive digits, was typical in textbook problems of this time. (Photo courtesy of Beinecke Library, Yale University; see restrictions on use described below.)
The page above, decorated by the figure of a unicorn, provided practice with apothecary weights. (Photo courtesy of Beinecke Library, Yale University; see restrictions on use described below.)
This highly illustrated page presented a problem concerning the siege of a castle. A variety of artillery were to be used in the bombardment: 4 cannon, 8 demy-cannon, 6 culverins, 9 demy-culverins, and 5 sackers. They were to fire 10 volleys to breach the castle wall. Each required different loads of powder to fire. The question asked, ‘What is the total amount of powder needed to seize the castle?’ (Photo courtesy of Beinecke Library, Yale University; see restrictions on use described below.)
George Waymouth (c. 1585-1612) was an English ship captain and explorer, and a student of mathematics, navigation, and ship-building. In 1602 he led an unsuccessful voyage in search of the Northwest Passage, exploring the area between Greenland and Labrador. After returning to England he wrote “The Jewell of Artes,” a manuscript on navigation, shipbuilding, and fortification presented to King James I. Waymouth was then hired to lead an expedition to explore the area of “Virginia” that Bartholomew Gosnold (1572-1607) had explored (on and near what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts), but he and his party were blown north to Monhegan in what is now Maine. They spent a month exploring the Penobscot area, just missing Samuel Champlain. They then kidnapped five natives and returned with them to England. Official chronicler James Rosier (1575-1635) wrote an account of the expedition titled "A True Relation of the most prosperous voyage made this present yeere 1605." The Penobscot Marine Museum produced a film and exhibit about the expedition in 2005.
The three images above are provided courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. You may use them in your classroom, but all other uses require permission from the Beinecke Library. The Mathematical Association of America is pleased to cooperate with the Beinecke Library and Yale University to make these images available to a larger audience.
Swetz, Frank J., "Mathematical Treasure: Waymouth's 'Jewell of Artes'," Loci (November 2012), DOI: 10.4169/loci003951