SQUARING THE CIRCLE

Dimostrazione sintetica della quadratura del circolo di Don Vincenzo Ballarin, piovano di S. Pietro della Volta diocesi di Chioggia. 

Venice, Fracasso, 1828. 

8vo, pp. 14, with folding lithographic plate (signed ‘Venezia – Lit: Deye’); light foxing throughout, but a good copy; in contemporary pink wrappers; ink ownership inscription of Agostino Manfrin Provedi dated 1830 to front cover.

£900

Approximately:
US $1120€1047

Add to basket Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
Dimostrazione sintetica della quadratura del circolo di Don Vincenzo Ballarin, piovano di S. Pietro della Volta diocesi di Chioggia. 

Checkout now

First and only edition of this confident but mistaken attempt at squaring the circle – drawing a square with the same area as a given circle using a compass and straightedge – later proven to be impossible. 

With the visual aid of a large plate bound at the end, Ballarin lays out his proposal for squaring the circle; he devotes more of the text, however, to defending the pursuit against the ‘erroneous opinion’ that it is impossible, and against accusations of being ‘useless, frivolous, puerile, or unworthy of wise men’ (p. 9 trans.).  The impossibility would nonetheless be proven in 1882. 

The Dimostrazione appears to have been limited to a print run of 150 copies (see Elenco delle opere stampate e pubblicate in Venezia nelle provincie venete nell’anno 1828 365); Ballarin dedicates his brief treatise to an unspecified ‘famous Academy for the advancement of science’ and likely distributed it exclusively amongst its members. 

Little is known about Vincenzo Ballarin, though his penchant for oratory and his geographic ties to the Venetian coastal town at Chioggia could perhaps identify him with the Vincenzo Ballarin del fusinato ‘who in 1829 read and explained in the piazza the Orlando furioso, Orlando innamorato, I reali di Francia, Il Guerin Meschino, &c.  This Vincenzo was the most celebrated of the Chioggia storytellers’ (Renier, ‘I cantastorie in Chioggia e in Sicilia’ in La discesa di Ugo d’Alvernia allo inferno (1968), p. XXI trans.). 

Provenance: Inscription of Agostino Manfrin Provedi ‘alla Dimostrazione … del 1830 Venezia … stampat. […] per l’autore stesso’.  Manfrin Provedi was best known for his efforts to posthumously publish the Latin translation of Dante’s Commedia by his uncle, Gaetano dalla Piazza. 

Not on OCLC or Library Hub; ICCU finds two copies in Italy.  We have found one other copy, at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. 

Bibliografia italiana (1828) 513. 

You may also be interested in...