Vettor Fausto (1490-1546), Professor of Greek and a Naval Architect: A New Light on the 16th-century Manuscript Misure di vascelli etc. di…proto dell’Arsenale di Venetia
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This thesis investigates the significant role that the Venetian humanist Vettor Fausto (1490-1546), professor of Greek at the School of Saint Mark, played during the first half of the 16th century in Venetian naval architecture. Early in the 16th century, the maritime power of Venice was seriously threatened by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman II in the East and by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the West. In order to regain its naval power in the Mediterranean, the Republic of Venice strongly encouraged Venetian shipwrights to submit new designs for war galleys. The undisputed founder and champion of this naval program was not a skilled shipwright but a young professor of Greek in the School of Saint Mark named Vettor Fausto, who in the heat of this renewal programme, proposed “marine architecture” as a new scientia. In 1529, Vettor Fausto built a quinqueremis whose design, he claimed, was based upon the quinquereme “used by the Romans during their wars” and that he had derived the shipbuilding proportions “from the most ancient Greek manuscripts.” The recovery of Classical traditions resulted in major changes in many fields. It included shipbuilding practices as well, especially after Fausto introduced in the Venetian Arsenal a new scientia, that of “marine architecture”, in opposition to the fabrilis peritia, the empirical shipbuilding practice. This work examines several Renaissance sources and archival material in order to illuminate the technical features and the design of Fausto’s quinquereme. Based on the study of the anonymous 16th-century Venetian manuscript Misure di vascelli etc. di…proto dell’Arsenale di Venetia from the State Archive of Venice, this thesis presents a general overview of Fausto’s life and his cultural background in order to better understand the humanistic foundations that led him to propose the construction of the quinquereme. Also presented in this thesis is a theoretical reconstruction of Fausto’s quinquereme and the suggestion that the shipbuilding instructions contained in the anonymous manuscript are connected to the work of Fausto in the Venetian Arsenal.
Campana, Lilia 1975- (2010). Vettor Fausto (1490-1546), Professor of Greek and a Naval Architect: A New Light on the 16th-century Manuscript Misure di vascelli etc. di…proto dell’Arsenale di Venetia. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from