Dante, Ignatius

, according to some, a descendant of the famous poet, was born at Perugia in 1537, and took the habit of a Dominican. He became skilful in philosophy and divinity, but more so in the mathematics. He was invited to Florence by the great duke Cosmo I. and explained to him the sphere and the books of Ptolemy, and left here a marble quadrant, and an equinoctial and meridian line on the front of the church of St. Maria Novella. He read public lectures on the same subject, and had many auditors in the university of Bologna, where he was appointed mathematical professor. Before he returned to Perugia, he made a fine map of that city, and of its whole territory, and in 1576 traced the grand meridian in the church of St. Petrona, which Cassini completed. The reputation of his learning caused him to be invited to Rome by Gregory XIII. who employed him in making geographical maps and plans. He acquitted himself so well in this, that the pope thought himself obliged to prefer him; and accordingly gave him the bishopric of Alatri, near Rome. He went and resided in his diocese; but Sixtus V. who succeeded Gregory XIII. would have him near his person, and ordered him to return to Rome. Dante was preparing for the journey, but was prevented by death, in 1586. His principal works are, “A Treatise of the Construction and Use of the Astrolabe,” “Mathematical Tables,” and a “Commentary on the Laws of Perspective.2


-—Moreri. Gen. Dict.—Tiraboschi.