The imperial road to geometry: new <i>Elements of geometry</i>

Catherine Jami

in The Emperor's New Mathematics

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199601400
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729218 | DOI:
The imperial road to geometry: new Elements of geometry

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This chapter focuses on the French Jesuits' work as translators of a recent geometry textbook, which was substituted for the 1607 translation of Euclid in teaching Kangxi. Significantly, this book was first translated from French into Manchu and then from Manchu into Chinese. The tutors Gerbillon and Bouvet substituted what their predecessors had taught with a work whose approach they deemed more ‘modern’, a quality that entailed clarity, ease, and speed. According to them this met the emperor's demand: what he wanted to master were the principles of practical geometry. Thereafter the teaching followed Pardies' textbook; the lecture notes closely parallel seven out of the nine books of which it consisted.

Keywords: Kangxi; tutors; translation; Euclid geometry; Gerbillon; Bouvet; Pardies

Chapter.  8287 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Mathematics

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