A ray of light on private mathematical culture in coimbra in the mid‑ 17th century: Francisco Pereira de la Cerda (†1656)
Keywords:mathematics in Portugal, Francisco Pereira, Coimbra College, Luis de Brito, SJ, Ferdinand Verbiest, SJ, China Mission
A closer consideration of some former Jesuit books in the National Library of Peking (Beitang collection) with the owner’s name Francisco Pereira de la Cerda, brings us back to the milieu of the Coimbra college in 1654‑1656, and proves that ‘foreign’ mathematical books were circulating in the margin of the College instruction, occasionally even among young Jesuit novices. At the same time, this study not only unravels the identity of the Angra do Heroismo born Francisco Pereira de la Cerda; it evokes also the profile of Luis de Brito (born 1604, Abrantes) ‑ and indirectly also his namesake (born 1613, Alvito); the former – later removed to the Domus Probationis in Lisbon ‑ had also relations with the ‘Mathematical library’ of the Colégio Santo Antão (Lisbon), Athanasius Kircher (Rome) and some Jesuits in China; all this sheds some new light on the mathematical (book) culture in and around Coimbra and Lisbon, with less expected connections outside Portugal, almost precisely in the year F. Verbiest taught in Coimbra mathematics and took contact with Kircher.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows sharing the work with recognition of authorship and initial publication in Antropologia Portuguesa journal.