"Bussola viva" (Alive Compass)

From Inventions

Jump to: navigation, search

Name used in Renaissance times, especially in the Veneto region.

Historic Period

16th C.


Surveyors' measurement instrument, usually called simply compass, or surveying compass. It is mentioned by the name bussola viva in at least two documents: the treatise on architecture by Vincenzo Scamozzi, who distinguishes it by the adjective viva (live) from the similar instrument for topographical drawing having no magnetized needle known as the "bussola morta" (dead compass), or dead compass (L’idea della architettura universale, Venice 1615, Part I, Book. II, Chap. VIII, p. 125: "…the angles of which must be taken with the vane , & the sights of the Bussola viva, with the North wind…"); and in a manuscript by Giacomo Contarini, Figure d’istromenti matematici [Figures of mathematical instruments] "With the bossolo vivo we determine all of the lines of the drawing...".

Bibliographical Resources

Contarini, Giacomo. Figure d’istromenti matematici e loro uso, ms., 1577-86, Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Canon Ital. 145, c. 14.

Scamozzi, Vincenzo. L’idea della architettura universale, Venezia 1615, Parte I, Lib. II, Cap. VIII, p. 125.

Author of the entry: Filippo Camerota

Personal tools
In other languages