Toscanelli, Paolo dal Pozzo

Toscanelli, Paolo dal Pozzo

(pä`ōlō däl pôt`tsō tōskänĕl`lē), 1397–1482, Italian cosmographer and mathematician. A physician by training, he was also known as Paul the Physician. He was for a time librarian at Florence. It is said that his map of the world was used by Columbus on the 1492 voyage to America. The Italian architect Brunelleschi may have learned principles of perspective from Toscanelli.
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Toscanelli, Paolo Dal Pozzo


Born 1397 in Florence; died there May 10, 1482. Italian humanist scholar, cosmographer, and astronomer.

The conservator of the library founded in Florence by the humanist Niccolò de’ Niccoli for the general use of the citizens, Toscanelli studied the works of ancient and medieval cosmographers. He supported the theory that the earth was round and advanced the idea that it was possible to reach India by a western route. In 1468, using a gnomon, he determined the times of the solstices. Toscanelli made critical corrections to the Alfonsine tables, a set of 13th-century astronomical tables, and removed the astrological elements contained therein.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.