Gioia, Flavio

, to whom the invention of the compass has been ascribed, was a Neapolitan, and born about the year 13OO. At that time the sovereigns of Naples were younger branches of the royal family of France; and, to mark the circumstance of this invention of the compass originating with a subject of Naples, Gioia distinguished the north with a fleur de lis, a, particularity which has been adopted by all nations, to whom the use of this instrument is known. Some have pretended that the ancients | wer6 not ignorant of the power of the magnet; but it is certain 'that Pliny, who often speaks of the load-stone, knew nothing of its appropriate direction to the pole. Some authors also have conferred the honour of this important discovery on the Chinese, and it has by Dr. Wallis been ascribed to the English. However this may be, the territory of Principato, which is part of the kingdom of Naples, and in which place Gioia was born, bears a compass for its arms. If it be only an improvement of an invention, though but partially known, which may be imputed to Gioia, he is without dispute entitled to a distinguished place in the rank of those who have contributed to the benefit of society. 1


Moreri. Cyclopædia, art. Compass.