Egnatio Pellegrino Rainaldi Danti

Born: April 1536 in Perugia, Italy
Died: 19 Oct 1586 in Alatri, Italy

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At the age of 18 Egnatio Danti entered the Dominican Order having already attended courses at the University of Perugia. In 1562 he was asked by Cosimo I de' Medici, the second duke of Florence, to prepare maps and a huge terrestrial globe which is still preserved. The maps were hung on the walls in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

Cosimo became first grand duke of Tuscany in 1569 and he appointed Danti to be professor of mathematics at Pisa. However Cosimo died in 1574 and Danti's position became insecure. In 1576 he had to leave Tuscany and he went to Bologna.

From 1577 Danti mapped the area around Perugia, and in the same year he was appointed professor of mathematics at Bologna. He also accepted a commission to map the Papal states.

In 1574 Danti detected the 11 day error in the calendar and from that time on became a leading figure in calendar reform. He designed and published work on astronomical instruments, an interest which led him to discover the 11 day error. He built an instrument to determine the true equinox so that the calendar might be corrected and constructed an astronomical quadrant. He built other instruments, namely ones to indicate the wind direction and a surveying instrument.

Among Danti's mathematical publications are editions of some of Euclid's works.

He ended his career back in the church being appointed Bishop of Altri in 1583. He remained there until his death.

References (3 books/articles)

References elsewhere in this archive:

Tell me about the errors in the Julian calendar

Other Web sites:

Rice University, USA

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JOC/EFR December 1996