Girolamo Cardano Loses Favorite Son

girolamo cardano

On April 13, 1560, Girolamo Cardano lost his favorite son, Giovanni, to execution after Giovanni poisoned his wife.

Born to a great mathematician, Girolamo Cardano followed in his footsteps. Before he became known for math, Cardano struggled to make a living. His father and mother had not married before his birth and so marked him as an illegitimate child. This status, for awhile, would not allow him to gain position in academics. To survive he turned to gambling, an addiction that never quite went away. Eventually he married and had several children. He published several books on mathematics and made money as a famous physician.

His son, Giovanni married a woman his father disliked. Giovanni’s wife bragged that their three children did not actually belong to Giovanni. She claimed to have cheated on him multiple times. Upset Giovanni poisoned his wife. Discovered they arrested Giovanni and he confessed. Girolamo Cardano hired lawyers for his son, to no avail and his son died.

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