Museo Galileo
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Works > Reading room > Le operazioni del compasso geometrico e militare (1606)

Le operazioni del compasso geometrico e militare (1606)

Galileo's first signed text, the Operations of the Compass, has been presented as an educational toy to be used for the instruction of Prince Cosimo de' Medici. What it really described, however, was the operation of a highly evolved, precise instrument, designed to find answers, by applying mathematical laws, to the new questions posed by technological progress in the military field and the practical disciplines in general. With this instrument, measurements and calculations were greatly facilitated. It simplified technical problems so greatly, in fact, that Galileo had to hire a craftsman to build enough compasses to satisfy the requests of his pupils, many of them young Venetian noblemen. Due to the instrument's innovative nature and vast range of applications, various attempts were made to plagiarize it, one of them resulting in a lawsuit.