# Finæus, Orontius

, in French Finé, professor of
mathematics in the Royal college at Paris, was the son of
a physician, and born at Briungon, in Dauphine, in 1494.
He went young to Paris, where his friends procured him a
place in the college of Navarre. He there applied himself to polite literature and philosophy; yet devoted himself more particularly to mathematics, for which he had a
strong natural inclination, and made a considerable progress, though without the assistance of a master. He acquired likewise much skill in mechanics; and having both
a genius to invent instruments, and a skilful hand to make
them, he gained high reputation by the specimens he gave
of his ingenuity. He first made hinaself known by correcting and publishing Siliceus’s “Arithmetic,” and the
“Margareta Philosopiiica.” He afterwards read private
| lectures in mathematics, and then taught that science publicly in the college of Gervais; by which he became so
famous, that he was recommended to Francis I. as the fittest person to teach mathematics in the new college which
that prince had founded at Paris. He omitted nothing to
support the glory of his profession; and though he instructed his scholars with great assiduity, yet he found
time to publish a great many books upon almost every part
of the mathematics. A remarkable proof of his skill in
mechanics is exhibited in the clock which he invented in
1553, and of which there is a description in the Journal
of Amsterdam for March 29, 1694. Yet his genius, his
labours, his inventions, and the esteem which an infinite
number of persons shewed him, could not secure him from
that fate which so often befalls men of letters. He was
obliged to struggle all his life with poverty; and, when he
died, left a wite and six children, and many debts. His
children, however, found patrons, who for their father’s
sake assisted his family. He died in 1555, aged sixty-one.
Like all the other mathematicians and astronomers of those
times, he was greatly addicted to astrology; and had the
misfortune to be a long time imprisoned, because he had
foretold some things which were not acceptable to the
court of France. He was one of those who vainly boasted
of having found out the quadrature of the circle. His
works were collected in 3 vols. folio, in 1535, 1542, and
1556, and there is an Italian edition in 4to, Venice, 1587. ^{1}