Pacioli's First Publication

An image of Luca Pacioli

In 1494 Luca Pacioli (a Franciscan monk and geometer) traveled to Venice to publish Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita, which had the goal of being a comprehensive summary of mathematical knowledge at the time. Almost none of the mathematics featured was Pacioli’s original work, but he did give credit to those who produced the results he mentioned, which included thinkers like Euclid, Boethius, Sacrobosco, and Fibonacci . It had a completely summary of Euclid’s Elements and it studied games of chance (Pacioli presented an attempt at a solution to a problem in this subject which was later deemed incorrect). A revolutionary aspect of this text is that it was published in Italian (the vernacular), not Latin.  The publishing of this work also established Pacioli’s name in the academic and intellectual communities at the time, most definitely catching the attention of da Vinci (who bought a copy as soon as it was published). It is reasonable to speculate that da Vinci recruited Pacioli to the Milan court because he was so impressed by this work.


Isaacson, Walter. Leonardo Da Vinci. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2018.

“Luca Pacioli.” Luca Pacioli (1445-1517), School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Scotland,

The image source is Wikimedia Commons, and it is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

1494 to 1494