Henry Billingsley’s Elements of Euclid With Pop-Up Models

Henry Billingsley was an English merchant who later became the mayor of London. He is the first person to publish an English translation of Euclid’s Elements. His work is so unique that he put pop-up 3-dimensional models to explain geometric models and mathematical theorems in 1570. 

Henry Billingsley translated all thirteen of Euclid’s works, plus three more writings attributed to Euclid, and included remarks from a wide range of ancient and modern commentators. The “pop-up” models, or three-dimensional fold-up diagrams, that Billingsley added to explain geometric solids and various mathematical theorems are a special element of his translation. This work was groundbreaking since it introduced this innovation to the literary world. Over a thousand pages were used in the final product.

One of the most influential textbooks in the history of science is Euclid’s Elements, which was first published around 300 BC. It is also among the first printed works in mathematics after Gutenberg introduced moveable type printing to Europe. Already widely used by the time of Queen Victoria, The Elements is still required coursework for all high school students around the world.

Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.

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