ARISTOTLE. De physica auscultatione, de coelo, de mundo ad Alex., de generatione et corruptione, et meteorologicam disciplinam continens tomus II.

Venice, apud Aldi filios, 1551


8vo, pp. (xvi) 438 (ii), recte 448, nos. 141-144 repeated. Greek letter. Aldine device within ornate border with putti, cornucopiae and masks to title page and verso of last, woodcut decorated initials. Intermittent mainly light age yellowing, age browining to one gathering, very light waterstain to final couple of final ll., the odd marginal spot, small wormholes to outer blank margins of last two ll. Inked over ms. ex libris to t-p and verso of last, modest C16 marginalia. A good, clean copy in contemporary vellum, covers a bit creased, early ms. inscriptions to lower, small repair to lower cover and spine, missing ties, yapp outer edge. Edges sprinkled red.

Between 1551 and 1553 Paulus Manutius printed a series of six volumes together comprising the second Aldine collected edition of Aristotle in Greek. “The editor was John Baptist Camosius, who has reviewed the four preceding editions, examined the readings of the Greek interpreters, consulted some MSS and everywhere corrected and restored the text to the utmost of his ability” (Dibdin). Extremely passionate about Aristotle, the philologist Giovanni Battista Camozzi (Camosius, 1515-1581) is most renowned for his editions, translations and commentaries of the Greek philosopher’s works.

This rare, valued and elegantly printed edition was realised in collaboration with Federico Torresano (active 1538-1560), son of Aldo Manuzio’s business partner and friend Andrea Torresano. The preface was written by Federico, and it is famous for the beautiful words that he used to explain how much attention and care was dedicated to make this new edition splendid and perfect, as well as how proud he is to give the text of Aristotle to his contemporaries and to posterity. Remarkably, Renouard states that “despite the many complete and partial reprints which have since been made of the works of Aristotle, this edition can still, to this day, provide a multitude of excellent readings, valuable to any publisher of any portion of the works it contains”.

One of the most influential thinkers in history, the classical Greek philosopher Aristotle contributed to almost every field of human knowledge and his works are considered foundational to Western science and philosophy. This volume includes five of his treatises on natural philosophy, namely the practice of studying nature and the physical universe. The first is also the most important: ‘De physica auscultatione’ or simply ‘Phisica’, is Aristotle major work on the principles of natural or moving things, which gives a definition to the concept of nature and explores the causes of change and motion. ‘De generatione et corruptione’ (On Generation and Corruption), fourth in this collection, examines the process by which things come into being. The second treatise, ‘De coelo’ (On the Heavens) is Aristotle’s chief cosmological work, in which the heavenly bodies are described as perfect and imperishable realities made of aether. The third, ‘De mundo’ (On the universe), also deals with cosmological and geological subjects, but it is usually regarded as spurious. Finally, ‘In meteora’ is a treatise on meteorology, which includes some of the earliest accounts of water evaporation, earthquakes, and other weather phenomena.

Adams A1734; Renouard 150:5, “Edition estimèe”; BM STC It. p. 42; Brunet I p. 458; Graesse I, p. 210; Houzeau and Lancaster 812. Not in USTC.