Textus de sphaera: introductoria additione commentarioque, ad vtilitatem studentium Philosophiae Parisiensis Academiae illustratus. Cum compositione Annuli astronomici Boneti Latensis: Et Geometria Euclidis Megarensis

Paris, vaenit apud Simonem Colinaeum, 1538.


Folio. ff. 35. a-b8, c-d6, e8 (without final blank e8). Roman letter in two sizes. Fine white on black crible woodcut initials, fine full page white on black crible woodcut on t-p of the celestial sphere with Mercury and the Author below signed with the cross of Lorraine and attributed to Oronce Fine, full page woodcut on A3 verso with Ptolemy, Astrologia, and Urania in a landscape, standing beneath an armillary sphere, the sun, moon and stars at corners within floral white on black border signed O.F. with the crowned dolphin of Oronce fine at foot, 24 woodcut diagrams, some printed in margins, and 18 tables. T-p fractionally dusty at outer margin, rare marginal mark or spot. A very good copy in excellent C18th (?) Italian vellum? recased, covers bordered with gilt rules, large fleurons gilt to corners, central circle, gilt all around with fine gilt tooling and scrolled gilt tooling above and below, spine gilt with fleurons, remains of ties.

Beautiful edition, finely illustrated by Oronce Finé, of Sacrobosco’s De Spaera with the commentary of Lefèvre d’Etaples designed for use of students at the University of Paris. It is the last of five editions printed by Simon de Colines using Oronce Finé’s fine woodcut illustrations. “In addition to the text of Sacrobosco and Lefèvre commentary, Colines includes two other works, which had first been added in Lefevre’s second edition (Paris, Wolfgang Hopyl, 1500); These are Bonnetus de Latis’s Anulus astronomicus a description of the finger ring that functioned as a miniature astrolabe, first published c. 1492, and the enunciations from the first four books of Euclid’s Elements in the translation attributed to Boethius.” Sacrobosco’s Sphaera (editio princeps 1472) was the first printed astronomical book, and a fundamental text of medieval and post-medieval astronomy. It is a synthesis of Ptolemy and his Arabic commentators, presenting an elegant, accessible cosmology, and for this reason was adopted as the most authoritative astronomical textbook of its time.

“About 1220 he went to Paris, where he spent most of his life and where he was elected as member of the university in 1221. Elected professor of mathematics soon afterward, he won wide and enduring renown and was among the first exponents in the thirteenth century of Arab arithmetic and algebra. By 1231 he was the outstanding mathematician and astronomer. Sacrobosco’s fame rests firmly on his De sphaera, a small work based on Ptolemy and his Arabic commentators, written about 1220 and antedating the De sphaera of Grosseteste. It was quite generally adopted as the fundamental astronomy text, for often it was so clear that it needed little or no explanation. It was first used at the University of Paris. During the middle ages the De sphaera enjoyed great renown, and from the middle of the thirteenth century it was taught in all the schools of Europe. In the sixteenth century it gained the attention of mathematicians, including Clavius.. As late as the seventeenth century it was used as a basic astronomy text. After Manilius’ Astronomica, The Sphere was the first printed book on astronomy. Twenty-four more editions appeared in the following twenty-eight years, and more than forty editions from 1500 to 1547″ (DSB).

BM STC Fr. C16th. p. 389. Schreiber 153. Mortimer 475 (the 1531 edition.) Renouard 295. Cantamessa 7008


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