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Name coined by the inventor to indicate its principal function as "measurer of arcs" or angles.



Giovanni Battista Aleotti, detto l'Argenta (1546-1636).

Historic Period

c. 1590


Instrument for surveying and levelling water invented and described by Giovanni Battista Aleotti in his treatise on Hidrologia, overo ragionamento della scienza et dell’arte dell’acque [Hydrology, or reasoning on the science and art of waters] "a Geometric instrument invented by ourselves many years ago, because with it alone we can have all of the necessary and required operations, and we have named it ARCHIMETRO, because among all the other geometric instruments we have found i this name most suitable for it...". The instrument consisted of a triangular panel engraved with various measurement scales, mounted on a stand and equipped with a compass and diopter for sighting distant places. To illustrate its surveying operations, Aleotti reports the data from a survey conducted for Duke Alfonso II d’Este on 4 December 1596 in the territory of San Alberto at the mouth of the Po di Primaro. The name archimetro was adopted contemporaneously by Ostilio Ricci for a new surveying compass of his invention (see Florentine Archimeter).

Bibliographical Resources

Aleotti, Giovanni Battista. De la scienza et dell'arte del ben regolare le acque di Gio. Battista Aleotti detto l'Argenta architetto del Papa, et del pubblico ne la città di Ferrara. Ms., ca. 1598-1603, Modena, Biblioteca Estense, It. a.0.3.1., edited by Massimo Rossi, Franco Cosimo Panini, Ferrara 2000, Lib. IV.

Giambattista Aleotti e gli ingegneri del Rinascimento. Edited by Alessandra Fiocca. Atti del Convegno (Ferrara 1996), Firenze, Leo S. Olschki, 1998.

Links (External) (Italian)


Author of the entry: Filippo Camerota

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