The book deals with a Tractatus algorismi written in 1307 in
Montpellier by a certain Jacopo da Firenze. This work is one of the
earliest surviving 'abbacus' treatises, that is, textbooks for the
vernacular school for merchant youth which sprung up in Northern
Italy in the later 13th century, and by far more orderly than any
of the extant predecessors. It is also the first to contain a
presentation of algebra. The book contains an edition and an
English translation of a manuscript from c. 1450 which is a
meticulous copy of a meticulous copy; a critical edition of an
abridged version of which two manuscripts exist, and an extensive
discussion of the contents of the treatise and its location within
early abbacus culture including evidence that this culture was
transnational and probably older in the Catalan-Provencal area than
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