La Geometria Prattica

Rome, Andrea Fei for Gio. Angelo Ruffinelli, 1624 [1623]


Folio, 58 unnumbered ll., A-M4 N6 O2. Roman letter, captions in Italic. Large engraved architectural t-p, Mars on the right, Victory allegory on the left, pediment with hanging grotesques and putti holding the Savelli arms, repeated on the right and left pedestal, motto ‘agor non obruor’ in between, large Aldine device on verso of last, 51 engraved plates, typographical and woodcut ornaments. Light age-yellowing, fly torn, couple of very sm. ink spots. A very good copy in contemp. limp vellum.

Second edition of this manual for surveyors, architects, geographers, cosmographers, bombardiers, engineers and captains on applied geometry and land surveying, completed by Giovanni Scala at the instance of the brother of Pomodoro after the latter’s death, and first published in Rome in 1599. Afraid of being charged with plagiarism, Scala made clear (cfr. his note at the end of the commentary on pl. VIII) which were his own additions, i.e. all the explanations and captions to Pomodoro’s plates, and seven new plates dealing with the measuring of the volume of parts of buildings such as columns, stairs and spires. Of Pomodoro’s plates, the first represents a selection of measuring instruments such as compasses and square rules; II-XXX explain the rules of the Euclidean geometry concerning triangles etc. (II-XXV), circular figures (XVI-XXIX), and solids (XXX); XXXI-XXXIX deal with the application of these rules to surveying (i.a. the measuring of the area of streets, rivers, moats, lakes, woods, and of the bases of trees and mountains) and XL with the measuring of corners in topography. The last three tackle the measurement of distances (pl. XXXXIII is reproduced in Mortimer). Giovanni Pomodoro was a mathematician of Venetian origin; nothing seems to be know of his life, and this is his only recorded work. Giovanni Scala, a military engineer of Friulan origin, lived in the second half of the C16th. The book is dedicated to Paolo Savelli, named ‘Principe di Albano’ in 1607 by pope Paul III. An interesting treatise made even more appealing by its illustrations, all finely engraved and rich in details and captions.

BM STC It. C17th p. 695. Graesse V p. 399. Riccardi I (2) 301. Honeyman 2513. Mortimer-Harvard It. 394n.


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