Summa de arithmetica
Su[m]ma de arithmetica geometria proportioni [et] proportionalita. Continentia de tutta lopera
Written by Luca Pacioli
Printed by Paganino de Paganini (Venice; 1494)
This, the first great work on mathematics to be printed, includes treatises on arithmetic, algebra, geometry, foreign exchange calculations and double-entry bookkeeping - the "Methods of Venice" . It is this last section that eventually, about a hundred years ago; led to its writer becoming well known for having set down the system of accounting which remains in use today.
Luca Pacioli was a teacher of mathematics, not a mathematician. His failure to produce any original work has been used by many as a basis for accusations of plagiarism and this has lasted from soon after his death to the present day. Those guilty of copying the works of others, and there are examples in this particular field, either make no references at all or quote other writers only to damn their work and praise their own. Pacioli does neither. He praises the work of others, gives particulars of the authorities he follows or merely refers to the particular method or system he is setting down.
This article was originally prepared by the library team in the mid-twentieth century to introduce the rare books and facsimiles in our collection to a wider audience. It is not intended as a piece of scholarly analysis and should not be read as such.
Historical Accounting Literature
The ICAEW collection of historical accounting literature currently comprises around 3,000 volumes and includes works published from the 15th century to the early 20th century. The collection includes books and journals in a variety of languages.
Find out more about the collection and its history.