, in Architecture, any little square member or ornament used in crowning a larger moulding.

FINÆUS (Orontius), in French Finé, professor of mathematics in the Royal-college of Paris, was the son of a physician, and was born at Briançon in Dauphiné in 1494. He went young to Paris, where his friends procured him a place in the college of Navarre. He applied himself there to philosophy and polite literature; but more especially to mathematics, in which, having a natural propensity, he made a considerable prosiciency. Particularly he made a good progress in mechanics; in which, having both a genius to invent instruments, and a skilful hand to make them, he gained much reputation by the specimens he gave of his ingenuity.

Finæus first made himself publicly known by correcting and publishing Siliceus's Arithmetic, and the Margarita Philosophica. He afterwards read private lectures in mathematics, and then taught that science publicly in the college of Gervais: from the reputation of which, he was recommended to Francis the 1st, as the properest person to teach mathematics in the new college which that prince had founded at Paris. And here, though he spared no pains to improve his pupils, he yet found time to publish a great many books upon most parts of the mathematics. But neither his genius, his labours, his inventions, and the esteem which numberless persons shewed him, could secure him from that fate which so often befalls men of letters. He was obliged to struggle all his life time with poverty; and when he died, left a numerous family deeply in debt. However, as merit must always be esteemed in secret, though it seldom has the luck to be rewarded openly; so Finæus's children found Mecænases, who for their father's sake assisted his family.—He died in 1555, at 61 years of age.

Like all other mathematicians and astronomers of those times, he was greatly addicted to astrology; and had the misfortune to be a long time imprisoned for having predicted some things, that were not acceptable to the court of France. He was also one of those, who vainly boasted of having found out the quadrature of the circle. An edition of his works, translated into the Italian language, was published in 4to, at Venice, 1587; consisting of Arithmetic, Practical Geometry, Cosmography, Astronomy, and Dialling.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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