Flavio Gioja

Flavio Gioia or Gioja, also known as Ioannes Gira Amalphensis (Italian pronunciation: [ˈflaːvjo ˈdʒɔːja]; c. 1300 – ?) is reputed to have been an Italian mariner, inventor, and supposedly a marine pilot. He has traditionally been credited with developing the sailor's compass, but this has been debated. However, he is credited with perfecting it by suspending its needle over a wind rose design with north designed by a fleur-de-lys, and enclosing it in a box with a glass cover. He was also said to have introduced such design, which pointed North, to defend against Charles of Anjou, the French king of Naples.[1][2]

Statute of Flavio Gioia in Amalfi by Alfonso Balzico, 1900

Although the surname "Gioia" is true, the name "Flavio" has been demonstrated to be a translation error. His real name was probably Giovanni; and his birthplace has been found to be Positano, in the Amalfi Coast.[3]

The lunar crater Gioja is named after him.[4]


  1. ^ "Manners, Customs, and Observances: Their Origin and Significance: Naval and Military". sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  2. ^ Winter, Henrich. "Who invented the compass?." The Mariner's Mirror 23, no. 1 (1937): 95-102.
  3. ^ Gargano, Giovanni. Storia della Bussola.
  4. ^ "Gioja crater". www.esa.int. Retrieved 2020-08-27.