Girolamo Ruscelli (1504 - 1566)

Girolamo Ruscelli was a prominent c.16th Italian polymath, mathematician, cartographer, and alchemist. Born in Viterbo and lived in various cities during his life including; Aquilea, Padua, Rome, Naples, and finally settled in Venice until his death.He wrote on a wide range of subjects and often worked on behalf of third parties, including a partnership with publisher Plinio Pietrasanta until 1555 when he was tried by the Inquisition for the unlicensed publication of a satirical poem. Most of his later works were published by Vincenzo Valgrisi. He wrote an immensely popular book on alchemy under the pseudonym Alessio Piemontese, published in 1555. The book, De Secreti Del Alessio Piemontese, included recipes for alchemical compounds, cosmetics, dyes, and medicines and was translated into numerous languages.

Ruscelli’s translations of various classics, including the Decameron and Orlando Furioso, were also popular. His translation of  Ptolemy’s, Geografia included 69 maps, 40 of which were contemporary and based on maps compiled by Giacomo Gastaldi in 1548. Ruscelli also compiled a Rimario (rhyming dictionary) that remained in use until the 19th century.

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