Fausto Veranzio

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Fausto Veranzio
Faust Vrančić
Fausto Veranzio.jpg
Portrait of Fausto Veranzio
Born Sebenico, Republic of Venice
(today Šibenik in Croatia)
Known for Polymath and bishop
Notable work(s) Machinae Novae, Dictionarium quinque nobilissimarum Europæ linguarum

Fausto Veranzio[1] or Faust Vrančić[2] (Latin: Faustus Verantius; Hungarian and Vernacular Latin: Verancsics Faustus)[3][4] (circa 1551 – January 17, 1617)[5] was a polymath and bishop from the Venetian Republic.[6]

Life[edit]

Family history[edit]

Fausto's uncle, Antonio, engraved by Martin Rota

Fausto was born in Šibenik[7] in the Croatian[8] noble family of counts Veranzio (a branch of which later merged with Draganić family, creating the Counts Draganić-Veranzio),[9] a notable family of writers.

He was the son of Michele Veranzio, a Latin poet, and the nephew of Antonio (Croatian: Antun Vrančić),[9] archbishop of Esztergom (1504–1573), a diplomat and a civil servant, who was in touch with Erasmus (1465–1536), Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), and Nikola Šubić Zrinski (1508–1566), who took Fausto with him during some of his travels through Hungary and in the Republic of Venice.[10] Fausto's mother was from the Berislavić family. His brother, Giovanni, died still young in battle.[9]

While the family's main residence was in city of Šibenik, they owned a big summer house on island Prvić, in place Šepurine, a neighboring place to Prvić-Luka (where he is buried in local church). The baroque castle that was used by Vrančić family as summer residence is now in possession of the Draganić family.

Education and political activities[edit]

As a youth, Veranzio was interested in science. Still a child, he moved to Venice, where he attended schools, and then to Padua to join the University, where he focused on law, physics, engineering and mechanics.
At the court of King Rudolf II, in Hradcany Castle, in Prague, Veranzio was chancellor for Hungary and Transylvania often in contact with Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe. After his wife's death,[11] Veranzio left for Hungary. In 1598, he got the title of Episcŏpus Csanadiensis[12] in partibus (even if he never set foot in Csanád). In 1609, back in Venice, he joined the brotherhood of Saint Paul of Tarsus (barnabites) and committed himself to the study of science. Veranzio died in 1617 in Venice and was buried in Dalmatia, near his family's countryhouse.[13]

Polymath and inventor[edit]

Veranzio's masterwork, Machinae Novae (Venice 1615 or 1616),[14] contained 49 large pictures depicting 56 different machines, devices, and technical concepts.
Two variants of this work exist, one with the "Declaratio" in Latin and Italian, the other with the addition of three other languages. Only a few copies survived and often do not present a complete text in all the five languages. This book was written in Italian, Spanish, French and German.[15] The tables represent a varied set of projects, inventions and creations of the author. There Veranzio wrote about water and solar energy, the universal clock (Plates 6–7), several types of mills, agricultural machinery, various types of bridge in various materials, machinery for clearing the sea, a dual sedan traveling on mule (Plate 47), special coaches, and Homo Volans (Plate 38) a forerunner of the parachute. His work included a portable boat (Plate 39), that is say a boat that, thanks to the same energy as the current may go against the river (Plate 40). It was his idea to use the printing rotary principle (e.g. grinding them printers, Plate 46) in order to alleviate the great difficulty of printers and improve results.

Despite the extraordinary rarity of this book (because the author published it at his own expense, without a publisher and having to stop printing because of lack of funds),[15] the Machinae Novae was the work which mainly contributed to Veranzio's popularity around the world. His design pictures were even reprinted a few years later and published in China.[16]

Veranzio's parachute[edit]

"Machinae Novae" plate n. 38: Veranzio's parachute

One of the illustrations in Machinae Novae is a sketch of a parachute dubbed Homo Volans ("The Flying Man"). Having examined Leonardo da Vinci's rough sketches of a parachute, Veranzio designed a parachute of his own.[17][18] Paolo Guidotti (about 1590) already attempted to carry out Da Vinci's theories, ending by falling on a house roof and breaking his thigh bone; but while Francis Godwin was writing his flying romance The Man in the Moone", Fausto Veranzio is widely believed to have performed a parachute jumping experiment for real[19] and, therefore, to be the first man to build and test a parachute: according to the story passed on, Veranzio, in 1617, now over sixty-five years old, implemented his design and tested the parachute by jumping from St Mark's Campanile in Venice.[20] It is generally added that this event were documented some 30 years later in a book Mathematical Magick or, the Wonders that may be Performed by Mechanical Geometry (London, 1648) written by John Wilkins, the secretary of the Royal Society in London.

However, John Wilkins, in his Mathematical Magick, wrote about flying and about his persuasion that flying will be possible.[21] Persons jumping from high towers and methods slowing down their fall were not his concern. His treatise does not even mention the name of Fausto Veranzio nor does it document any jump by parachute or any event at all in 1617.[21] No evidence has ever been found that anybody ever tested Veranzio's parachute.[citation needed]

Mills[edit]

His areas of interest in engineering and mechanics were broad. Mills were one of his main point of research, where he created 18 different designs. He envisioned windmills with both vertical and horizontal axes, with different wing constructions to improve their efficiency. The idea of a mill powered by tides incorporated accumulation pools filled with water by the high tide and emptied when the tide ebbed, simply using gravity; the concept has just recently been engineered and used.:D XD XDX DX

Urbanist and engineer in Rome and Venice[edit]

Drawing of suspension cable-stayed bridge by Fausto Veranzio in his Machinae Novae

By order of the Pope, he spent two years in Rome where he envisioned and made projects needed for regulating rivers, since Rome was often flooded by the Tiber river.[22] He also tackled the problem of the wells and water supply of Venice, which is surrounded by sea.[22] Devices to register the time using water, fire, or other methods were envisioned and materialized. His own sun clock was effective in reading the time, date, and month, but functioned only in the middle of the day.

The construction method of building metal bridges and the mechanics of the forces in the area of statics were also part of his research. He drew proposals which predated the actual construction of modern suspension bridges and cable-stayed bridges by over two centuries. The last area was described when further developed in a separate book by mathematician Simon de Bruges (Simon Stevin) in 1586.

Lexicography[edit]

Frontespiece of the Dictionarium quinque lingarum

Veranzio was the author of a five-language dictionary,[23] Dictionarium quinque nobilissimarum Europæ linguarum, Latinæ, Italicæ, Germanicæ, Dalmatiæ, & Vngaricæ,[24] published in Venice in 1595, with 5,000 entries for each language: Latin, Italian, German, the Dalmatian vernacular (in particular, the chakavian dialect of Croatian) and Hungarian. These he called the "five noblest European languages" ("quinque nobilissimarum Europæ linguarum").[25]

The Dictionarium is a very early and significant example of both Croatian and Hungarian lexicography, and contains, in addition to the parallel list of vocabulary, other documentation of these two languages. In particular, Veranzio listed in the Dictionarium 304 Hungarian words that he deemed to be borrowed from Croatian. Also, at the end of the book, Veranzio included Croatian language versions of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria and the Apostles' Creed.[26]

In an extension of the dictionary called Vocabula dalmatica quae Ungri sibi usurparunt, there is a list of Proto-Croatian words that entered the Hungarian language. The book greatly influenced the formation of both the Croatian and Hungarian orthography; the Hungarian language accepted his suggestions, for example, the usage of ly, ny, sz, and cz. It was also the first dictionary of the Hungarian language, printed four times, in Venice, Prague (1606), Pozun (1834),[27] and in Zagreb (1971). The work was an important source of inspiration for other European dictionaries such as an Hungarian and Italian dictionary written by Bernardino Balli, a German Thesaurus polyglottus by humanist and lexicographer Hieronim Megister, and multilingual Dictionarium septem diversarum linguarum by Peterus Lodereckerus of Prague in 1605.[25]

History and philosophy[edit]

Only a few of Veranzio's works related to history remain: Regulae cancellariae regni Hungariae and De Slavinis seu Sarmatis in Dalmatia exist in manuscript form, while Scriptores rerum hungaricum was published in 1798. In Logica nova ("New logic") and Ethica christiana ("Christian ethics"), which were published in a single Venetian edition in 1616, Veranzio dealt with the problems of theology regarding the ideological clash between the Reformation movement and Catholicism. Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639) and the Archbishop of Split Marco Antonio de Dominis (1560–1624) were his intellectual counterparts.

Legacy[edit]

When Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), Austrian-British philosopher and mathematician, moving from Berlin to England, began studying mechanical engineering in 1908, he was highly influenced by his reading of Renaissance technical treatises, particularly Veranzio's Machinae Novae.[28]

The 17th century Brooklyn Tidal Mill in Long Island (NY), one of the most popular and few still standing mills in the New York City area,[29] was built after the plan of Fausto Veranzio.[29][30][31]

Today, one of the oldest astronomical societies in Croatia bears the name "Faust Vrančić", as does a Croatian Navy rescue ship, as well as many schools in Croatia.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Alfred Day Rathbone, He's in the paratroops now, R.M. McBride & Company, 1943, University of California. page 172
  2. ^ Originally pronounced "vranchich"
  3. ^ Andrew L. Simon, Made in Hungary: Hungarian contributions to universal culture
  4. ^ The Hungarian Quarterly, Vol. XLII * No. 162 *, Summer 2001 László Sipka: Innovators and Innovations
  5. ^ According to M. D. Grmek, Verantius, Faustus (also known as Fausto Vrančić or Veranzio) he died on January 20, 1617.
  6. ^ Berthold Laufer, The Prehistory of Aviation Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, University of Michigan, 1928
  7. ^ Today Šibenik, Croatia. Cfr. A collection of modern and contemporary voyages & travels, Oxford University, 1805
  8. ^ Library and Waleson, John Crerar and Anthea (1984). Nature disclosed: books from the collections of the John Crerar Library illustrating the history of science. University of Chicago Library. p. 17. ISBN 9780943056036. 
  9. ^ a b c Abbe Albert Fortis, Travels Into Dalmatia, 1768
  10. ^ Memoirs of the court of Augustus: continued, and completed, from the original papers of the late Sir Thomas Blackwell John Mills, University of Aberdeen, Printed for A. Millar, 1753
  11. ^ Cultural Link Kanada, Deutschland: Festschrift zum Dreissigjährigen Bestehen by Beate Henn-Memmesheimer & David Gethin John
  12. ^ bishop of Csanád
  13. ^ on the Island of Prvić in the Adriatic Sea.
  14. ^ Some friends thanked him for this book in 1616; the date of 1595 refers to the publication of his Dictionarium
  15. ^ a b Original Machine Novae, Fausto VERANZIO - Malavasi Library, Milan - a complete and very detailed description of first and second edition of Veranzio's most famous work, "Machine Nove"
  16. ^ Weiying Gu, Ku Wei-Ying,Missionary approaches and linguistics in mainland China and Taiwan, Leuven University Press, 2001 - ISBN 90-5867-161-5 - Page 184
  17. ^ "The Invention of the Parachute", by Lynn White, Jr. in: Technology and Culture, Vol. 9, No. 3. (1968), pp. 462-467 (463)
  18. ^ Jonathan Bousfield, The Rough Guide to Croatia, pg. 280, Rough Guides (2003), ISBN 1-84353-084-8
  19. ^ Francis Trevelyan Miller, The world in the air: the story of flying in pictures, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1930, pages 101-106
  20. ^ He's in the paratroops now, Alfred Day Rathbone, R.M. McBride & Company, 1943, University of California.
  21. ^ a b Mathematical Magick, second book, chapter VII
  22. ^ a b Biblioteca italiana, o sia giornale di letteratura, scienze ed arti, Vol 53, New York Public Library, 1829 (Italian)
  23. ^ Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe: Lexicography and the Making of Heritage by John P. Considine.
  24. ^ Apud Nicolaum Morettum, 1595, Venice
  25. ^ a b When Petrus Lodereckerus published in 1606 his Dictionarivm septem diversarvm lingvarvm, videlicet Latine, Italice, Dalmatice, Bohemicè, Polonicè, Germanicè, & Vngaricè, vna cum cuiuslibet linguæ registro siue repertorio vernaculo, Singulari studio & industria collectum a Petro Lodereckeroin (Prague), he included two more languages than Veranzio's pentadictionary: Czech and Polish, with the addition of indices in Latin for each language.
  26. ^ Was Faust Vrančić the first Croatian lexicographer?", by Branko Franolić, Annali Istituto Orientale di Napoli, Volume 19, 1976, p.178-182
  27. ^ Today Bratislava in Slovakia
  28. ^ F. A. Flowers, Portraits of Wittgenstein, Volume 2, page 133
  29. ^ a b Roger H. Charlier and Charles W. Finkl,Ocean Energy: Tide and tidal power
  30. ^ Bernard L. Gordon, Energy from the sea: marine resource readings, Book & Tackle - University of Virginia, 1977, ISBN 0-910258-07-4. - p. 119
  31. ^ ISES Congress 2007 Nothing New Under the Sun or Every Little Bit Helps Tidal Power: Status & Perspectives R.H. Charlier, M.C.P. Chaineux, C.W. Finkl, A.C Thys, Vol. I–V, Springer

References[edit]

External links[edit]