Sharh al-Mulakhas fi’Ilm al-Hay’a (a commentary on the Compendium of Cosmology), decorated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Region of Samarkand, likely last decades of fifteenth century


12mo, 170 by 95mm., 86 leaves (including 4 contemporary flyleaves), complete, text in single column throughout, 19 lines delicate black nasta’liq, some overlining and headings in red, numerous diagrams throughout the text also in red, contemporary annotations to margins, catch-words throughout, some very faint water-staining to extremities, a few early ownership annotations and stamps to preliminary and penultimate leaves, including some quatrains of Persian poetry, early eighteenth-century russet morocco with flap, centrally placed medallions stamped in blind to covers and flap, also ruled in blind, some staining and light wear to extremities.

Musa bin Muhammad Qazi Zadeh al-Rumi (d.1436), known simply as Qazi Zaheh, was an Ottoman astronomer and mathematician based in Samarkand. Qazi Zadeh was a celebrated scholar in his field and is best known for the Zij’i Sultani, his collaborative work with fellow astronomer and Govenor of Samarkand Ulugh Beg (d. 1449). Their treatise is considered the first truly comprehensive stellar catalogue containing over 900 stars and is still considered an important treatise in the field of cosmology today. During his career Qazi Zadeh also became the directory of the Samarkan educational observatory, built under the direction and patronage of Ulugh Beg, which became the centre for astronomical research and education in the region.

The present text is a commentary on Mahmoud ibn Muhammad ibn Umar al-Jaghmini’s influential astronomical text entitled Al-Mulakhas fi’Ilm al-Haya (Compendium of Cosmology) which was likely compiled in the early 13th century. Qazi Zadeh’s treatise both acts as a summary and commentary of Jaghmini’s text, dealing with the configuration of the celestial and territorial worlds combined (including the arrangement of Ptolemaic celestial orbs). These treatises are compiled in a simplified format to accommodate a wider scholarly community and thus explain cosmographic theories in basic elementary terms and target broad audiences. The approachable nature of this text meant it became particularly widespread, often copied alongside Jaghmini’s text, and was even used as a curriculum for schools in Ottoman regions. 

This particular manuscript was probably copied for personal use by a scholarly student. Though there are wide margins throughout (for annotation) the text itself is miniscule and copied in a very tight format, an economic solution for self funding copyist. The contemporary marginalia and ownership seals are in keeping with the Eastern regions of Timurid Persia, not far from Samarkand, and probably copied only a few decades after the author’s death. 


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MANDERSTON, William. [with] ALMAIN, Jacques.


MANDERSTON, William. Bipartitum in morali philosophia opusculum.

Paris, [Guillaume Le Bret], 1526. [with]

ALMAIN, Jacques. Moralia […] & libellus De auctoritate Ecclesie.

Paris, [Jehan Petit], 1526.


8vo. 2 works in 1, ff. (iv) clxxxiii; (iv) clix, lacking final blank. Roman letter; Gothic letter. Large woodcut printer’s devices to t-ps, first with 2 folding plates showing philosophical diagrams as genealogical trees, decorated initials. Outer edge of first and last gatherings a bit frayed, I: t-p a little dusty, faint water stain to lower outer blank corner of Y-Z 8 , couple of tiny tears along plate folds, II: lower outer blank corner of Ii 2 torn, a few lower or outer edges untrimmed. Good, clean copies in contemporary French calf, spine repaired at head and foot, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind roll of tendrils, centre panel with grille de St Laurent rolls of tendrils surrounded by border with rosettes in blind, raised bands, couple of scratches to boards, small repair to corners. I: C16 inscriptions ‘Su[m] (?)llet hunc librum’ (partly erased) and ‘Joannes Chytrius Bonauallensis’ to t-p, occasional contemporary annotations, four to second plate, II: contemporary inscription, smudged, to t-p, slightly later inscriptions and ‘Joannes Chytrius Bonauallensis’ (contemporary) to verso of last.

Good copies of these scarce Parisian editions of important works of moral philosophy, produced in small format for the use of university students. This copy belonged to Joannes Chytrius (Kochhafe?), monk at the abbey of Bonneval, near Chartres. Both authors were educated in the Parisian circle of the Scottish nominalist philosopher John Mair (1467-1550). A major figure in Scottish philosophy, William Manderston (c.1485-1552) was a student at Glasgow and Paris. This edition of ‘Bipartitum’, originally published in 1518, was printed the year after he was appointed rector at Paris. A compendium on moral philosophy based on classical and medieval authorities, it focuses on the role of virtue in general and the cardinal virtues in particular. The folding diagrams summarise the structure of the work, heavily influenced by Aristotelianism tempered by Christian doctrines. The first represents the tree of disciplines rooted in positive moral philosophy on one side (‘leges’ and ‘iura’) and non-positive philosophy on the other (‘ethica’, ‘economica’, ‘politica’, ‘poetica’ and ‘rhetorica’). The second shows the ramifications of the Aristotelian soul into its vegetative, sensitive and rational qualities, the third kind including virtues. The work discusses a variety of topics including the passions of the soul, innocence and the state of fallen nature, natural appetites, causality, the moral basis of human actions, and whether God can be wrong. The second work, ‘Moralia’, became a standard textbook of moral theology. Jacques Almain (d.1515) was a prominent theologian and rector at Paris 1507-8. Imbued with Aristotelianism, ‘Moralia’ was first published by Estienne in 1510, and revised posthumously by John Mair in 1516, after the premature death of his star student. It focuses on the acquisition of human virtues, assigning theological virtues solely to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, touching on issues like human will, whether ignorance is sin, faith, moral actions and corruption. Despite its popularity, it was criticised by Juan Luis Vives who said that ‘reading a single page of Seneca or Plutarch would instil a stronger desire to be virtuous than would digesting the whole of Almain’s “Moralia”’ (‘Encyclopaedia’, 580).

I: No copies recorded in the US or UK. Not BM STC Fr. or Pettigree & Walsby, French Books.
II: Only Bowdoin and Chicago copies recorded in the US.
BM STC Fr., p.11; Pettigree & Walsby, French Books, 52721. A. Broadie, History of Scottish Philosophy (Edinburgh, 2009); Encyclopaedia of Medieval Philosophy, ed. H. Lagerlund (London, 2011).


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BEROALDUS, Philippus.


Orationes et poemata.

Bologna, Franciscus dictus Plato de Benedictis for Benedictus Hectoris Faelli, 1491.


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. 76 unnumbered ll., a-i⁸ k 4 . Roman letter. 4- to 7-line initials, capitals and paragraph headings heightened in red (occasional smudge). Recto of first and verso of last leaf a bit dust-soiled, the former restored at gutter, couple of ll. very slightly shaved at head, affecting couple of letters of a headline and one ms. note, light oil splash extending from lower gutter of g 7-8 , the odd marginal spot. A very good copy in early C19 polished calf, rebacked, spine remounted, eps renewed, double gilt ruled, bordered with small ropework in blind, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, corners a little worn, all edges blue, silk bookmark. Contemporary ms. marginalia in black and red.

A very good copy of the first edition of the orations and poems of Philippus Beroaldus—a leading humanist in Europe c.1500. Except for brief spells in Parma and Paris, Beroaldus (1453-1505) was a much esteemed professor of rhetoric at Bologna, his hometown, from 1472 to his death in 1505. Among his students were Jodocus Badius and Polydore Vergil. A skilled editor of the classics, he was also a prolific author and worked as editor for Benedetto Faelli, the publisher of the present work, known for his elegant imprints. Since 1487, Faelli had collaborated with Francesco ‘Platone’ Benedetti, ‘the prince of Bolognese typographers’, producing books with type ‘of superior elegance’ (Cioni, ‘Diz. Biog.’). Dedicated to Beroaldus’s student Martinus Boemus, ‘Orationes et poemata’ provides critical assessments of major authors including Virgil, Propertius, Livy, Cicero, Lucan, Juvenal, Sallust, Persius and Horace. It also portrays fascinating scenes from late C15 Bologna, scattered among topical orations on the appointment of the Briton Thomas Anglicus to rector of the Gymnasium Bononiense (with a celebration of Albion/England/Britannia based on Tacitus and Pliny), on the celebration of Ludovico Sforza and the weddings of the nobility. At the end are a few poems on sundry subjects including epitaphs, the Passion, love, slander, and the fable of Tancredi from Boccaccio.

This work was used by rhetoric students, doubtless including Beroaldus’s own, for examples of oratory, Neo-Latin poetry and classical commentaries. The contemporary ms. marginalia in this copy highlight the contrast between the Virgilian virtues of ‘rusticitas’ and the late C15 vices of ‘urbanitas’ (with merchants and usurers), Propertius’s views on love, ancient theories of poetry (with mentions of Homer), as well as Beroaldus’s scattered lamentation for lost ancient books (e.g., Livy and Sallust) or for the life of his times (e.g., ‘so strong in mortals is the innate greed for novelty’). The orations bear so many references to contemporary Bolognese city and university life that the work was probably a fascinating ‘guide’ for (especially foreign) students. For instance, the annotator highlighted Beroaldus’s description of the crowds gathering for the marriage of Annibale II Bentivoglio and Lucrezia d’Este in 1487. On the lower margin of the last leaf, he penned the appropriate motto ‘etate iuvenis maturitate senex’, from St Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah’s description of Daniel.

Hain 2949; BMC VI 825; ISTC ib00491000; GW 04144; Goff B-491. A. Cioni, ‘Faelli, B.’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 44 (1994).


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Lilium musice plane.

Augsburg, per Johannem Froschawer, 1498.


Small 4to. 15 unnumbered ll., lacking final blank. Gothic letter. Handsome half-page woodcut vignette to title with Pythagoras and Lady Musica holding scrolls, printed music notation, decorated initials. Faint water stain to upper or outer blank margin of last gathering, tiny worm trail to lower edge of three ll., lower outer blank corner of b 6 minimally torn. An excellent, remarkably clean but unwashed copy in C19 navy blue crushed morocco by Zaehnsdorf, double gilt ruled, raised bands, spine gilt-lettered, bookplate of pianist Alfred Cortot to front pastedown, his small stamped monogram on lower outer blank corner of t-p and b 1 .

An excellent, fresh copy of the rare third edition—not in Goff, Hain or BMC—of this handsome music incunabulum. It was first published in Basel in 1496, and reprinted in Ulm the following year. Michael Keinspeck (c.1451-c.1516), from Nuremberg, studied under Josquin de Près and was later professor at Basel. In the introduction to ‘Lilium’, he provides a short account of his early career. ‘Lilium’—a plainchant manual—was conceived for the use of students. It was only the second such manual published in Germany, after Hugo von Reutlingen’s (1488). Plainchant (‘cantus planus’), of which Gregorian is a subcategory, refers to the monophonic chant, with a single melodic line, used in Catholic liturgy. After a definition of music, the work proceeds to discuss types of music (choralis, mensurata, rigmica), scales, cantus (durus, mollis, naturalis), single and double clefs, toni, modi and key change, with a section on intonations for psalms, for ferial and festal use, in eight modes. Extensive musical notation, including a table illustrating Boethius’s ‘scala vera et recta’, provides illustrative examples in four-line staffs, and were printed on woodblocks. ‘Based on the consistent style of the design and the cutting, it is likely (but not certain) that one designer or workshop produced all the woodcuts, including the diagrams, music and title vignette’ (Giselbrecht & Savage, ‘Printing Music’, 91). A rare incunabulum, beautifully printed.

From the library of Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), famous Franco-Swiss pianist and conductor, especially praised for his interpretations of musical classics of the Romantic era.

Only 4 copies recorded (1 fragmentary), none in the US. (No copies of first ed. recorded in US, the second only at LC and Rochester.)
ISTC ik00009200; Klebs 571.3; IBP 3328; Schr 4443; GW M16240. Not in Goff, Hain or BMC. E. Giselbrecht and E. Savage, ‘Printing Music’, in Early Music Printing in German-Speaking Lands, ed. A. Lindmayr-Brandl (London, 2018), 84-99.


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BALMES, Abraham de.


Miqnē Avram: Peculium Abrae. Grammatica Hebraea.

Venice, Daniel Bomberg, 1523.


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. pp. [315], lacking final blank. Hebrew letter, with Roman, little Assyrian. Decorated initials. Upper outer blank corner of t-p repaired affecting few ll. of the dedicatee’s name on verso, next three ll. a bit oil or ink stained in places, lower outer edge of a 3 a bit chewed, small scattered worm holes and oil staining to final gatherings, former marginal, latter mostly, couple of ll. browned. A good copy in mid-C19 sprinkled sheep, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, a.e.r., a little loss in places, tiny scattered worm holes at head and foot of spine. Small modern Hebrew stamp to lower blank margin of t-p verso, s 2 and last, late C16 inscription ‘Fr. Alex[ander] Longus Inquisitor Montisregalis concessit isti Die 24 octobris’.

A good copy of the first edition of this important Hebrew grammar for Christian scholars, printed by the most important printer of Hebrew books in Italy. Abraham de Balmes (d.1523) studied at Naples, whence he fled to Venice probably in 1510, when the Jews were expelled from the Spanish territories. In Padua, he was the personal physician of Cardinal Grimani; in Venice, he acquired a solid reputation as a linguist and translator of Hebrew philosophical texts. The Flemish turned-Venetian Daniel Bomberg (1483-1549)—the first printer in Venice and first Christian printer of Hebrew books—employed de Balmes in 1523 as one of his talented editors (Amram, ‘Makers’, 169-70). He asked him to write a Hebrew grammar, published posthumously, in order to facilitate the learning of Hebrew for Christian scholars, encouraging them to undertake the quest for the Hebrew original (not the translation for the Greek) of the New Testament, the discovery of which would ‘make your name immortal’. Balmes’s original approach to Hebrew grammar was imbued with philosophical discussion, including Aristotelian logic, Plato and the Kabbalah, outlined in Chapter 1. Organised into Hebrew sections followed by their literal Latin translation, it discusses the definition of Hebrew grammar, the alphabet and phonetics, and its various elements. The seventh chapter is an early attempt to analyse Hebrew syntax on the basis of logic and use, and the eighth—partly composed and translated by Calos Calonimos—discusses biblical prosody and accents. The partial lack of success was due to its ambivalent character as ‘a preparatory work to the reading of a “ghost” text, a Hebrew New Testament not yet available’ and ‘the experimental revision of the logical premises of the Hebrew grammatical tradition’ (Campanini, ‘Grammatica’, 19).

Friar Alexander Longus is recorded as censor of Hebrew books in 1590, in Monreale, a small bishopric near Asti, in Southern Piedmont (Popper, ‘Censorship’, 135). In 1591 the Holy Office decided that ‘no Christian should in the future be allowed to undertake censorship; Jews should expurgate their own books, and then, if at any time one should be found not properly corrected, its owner should be severely punished’ (Popper, ‘Censorship’, 72-3). In Piedmont, Inquisitors continued to check recent publications and personal libraries until at least 1593. Being a work on grammar, this copy was ‘allowed’ (‘concessit’).

Steinschneider, Cat. librorum hebraeorum, 1576, 6067/1; Steinschneider, Bibliographisches Handbuch, 164.2; Habermann, Bomberg, 76; BM STC It., p.2; Heller, 16-Century Hebrew Book, pp.164-5. D.W. Amram, The Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909); S. Campanini, ‘Peculium Abrae. La grammatica ebraico-latina di Avraham De Balmes’, Annali di Ca’Foscari, 26 (1997), 5-49; W. Popper, The Censorship of Hebrew Books (1899).


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Institutione del prencipe christiano.

Venice, per Comin de Trino, 1546


8vo. pp. 71 (i). Italic letter, occasional Roman. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, woodcut initials. Occasional very slight foxing to outer or upper blank margin, small paper flaw to lower blank margin of H1. A very good, clean copy in superb contemporary Venetian olive goatskin, traces of ties, triple blind ruled to a panel design, single gilt ruled outer border, second border double gilt ruled with small ivy leaves to corners, surrounded by four gilt lotus tools, central panel with gilt arabesque cornerpieces and gilt round centrepiece surrounded by gouges and small fleurons with (upper cover) gilt title and (lower cover) the binder’s trade-mark gilt apple flanked by the gilt initials AA, raised bands and smaller false bands, eight compartments decorated with blind-tooled tendrils, bands single gilt ruled or hatched, all edges gilt and gauffered, upper joint cracking but firm, repair at head and foot of spine. Book label of Michel Wittock to front pastedown.

Superbly bound—studied and portrayed in Hobson & Culot, ‘Italian and French C16 Bookbindings’, n.11 (pp.36-37), from the library of Michel Wittock, a major C20 collector of fine bindings. The binding bears the trademark tools—small ivy leaves, lotus tools and the apple-shaped centrepiece, here flanked by the owner’s initials (e.g., de Marinis I, 2162 and 1707, and Henry Davis Gift II, 293-95)—of the Venetian Apple Binder (so named by M. Foot), active c.1530-50s (Henry Davis Gift I, 309-15). He is also known as Fugger Binder (preferred by Hobson and Schunke), as most of the books in the bibliophile Johann Jakob Fugger’s library came from his workshop; he also worked for Cardinal Granvelle and Thomas Mahieu. The same gilt initials AA flanking the apple tool are present on similar bindings gracing five other works (one unnoticed by Hobson & Culot, now Folger 182-313q), all printed in Venice between 1527 and 1546. According to Hobson & Culot, ‘it is possible—though this is pure guesswork—that A A stands for Arnoldus Arlenius, of s’Hertogenbosch, who in 1546 was employed in Venice as the librarian of the Spanish ambassador, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza’. Mendoza, himself a renowned bibliophile, was employing a Venetian binder, Andrea di Lorenzo, who used very similar tools to the Apple Binder.

This most influential and much reprinted ‘mirror for princes’ was originally published in Castilian as ‘Relox de Príncipes’ (Valladolid, 1529) by the Franciscan Antonio de Guevara (1481-1545). It first appeared in Italian in 1543 in a shortened form, translated and revised by Mambrino Roseo da Fabriano. Guevara’s ‘Relox’ was divided into three sections—brought together by the protagonist, the Philosopher-Emperor Marcus Aurelius—instructing Princes on the importance of Christian faith, their relationship with their wife and children, and political virtues. Reprinted nearly two dozen times in the C16, Mambrino’s translation was a collection of selected passages, under a title which reprised Erasmus’s famous ‘Institutio Principis Christiani’ (Buescu, ‘Corte’, 93).

Simplifying for a wider audience the genre of the ‘mirror for princes’, the ‘Institutione’ gathers exemplary anecdotes from the lives of ancient princes. It includes the customary warnings on the importance of virtue (e.g., patience and understanding of poverty) and the abhorrence of vice which might endanger the state (e.g., flattery and ambition). But it also covers topics closer to a prince’s family life. With an eye to a broader readership among aristocrats and the upper middle classes, Mambrino translated sections concerning the fundamental role played by women in the career of a prince, with instructions to princely wives how best to love their spouses, and to their husbands how pregnant princesses should be carefully looked after. A section is also devoted to the education of heirs, and the major role played by nurses; these should be ‘good orators’ and ‘learned, if possible’, women of this kind being still possible to find, ‘though more rarely, in modern times’.

Only Pratt and BYU copies recorded in the US.

EDIT16 CNCE 47315; Hobson & Culot, Italian and French C16 Bookbindings, n.11 (this copy).

A.I. Buescu, ‘Corte, Poder e Utopia: O Relox de Príncipes (1529) de Fr. Antonio de Guevara e a sua fortuna na Europa do século XVI’, Estudios Humanísticos. Historia 8 (2009), 69-101; I. Schunke, ‘Venezianische Renaissance-Einbände’, in Studi di bibliografia e di storia (1964), IV, 173-6.


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Arabicae linguae tirocinium.

Leiden, J. Maire, 1656.


Small 4to. pp. (xii) 172, 282 [i.e., 284]. Roman letter, with Arabic, some Italic. T-p in red and black with engraved vignette, woodcut initials and ornaments. Minor mainly marginal foxing, few ll. slightly browned. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, edges sprinkled red, curious early red stamp (Arabic?) to lower outer blank corner of t-p, editorial annotation on E1.    

Very good copy of the much enlarged, definitive edition of this milestone of early modern Arabic linguistics by the major scholar Thomas Erpen. First published in 1613 as ‘Grammatica Arabica’ and substantially enlarged by his former student Jacobus Golius in 1656, this grammar marked ‘a breakthrough in European attempts to render Arabic grammar accessible to students who had been educated in the Latin tradition’ (Loop, ‘Introduction’, 5). Encouraged by Scaliger to undertake the study of Oriental languages, Erpenius (or van Erpe, 1584-1624) became one of the most important linguists of his time, a prolific editor of oriental texts, and professor at Leiden, where he delivered the inaugural lecture ‘On the Excellence and Dignity of the Arabic Language’. This enlarged edition is ‘by far the most comprehensive and the most didactically accomplished version of Erpenius’s grammar ever to appear’ (Loop, ‘Arabic Poetry’, 247). It includes the original, accessible sections on grammar—from orthography to syllabation, phonetics, verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc.—and, as reading exercises with a Latin translation, the fables of Luqman and 200 proverbs (from the 1636 edition). Golius, who had succeeded Erpenius as professor at Leiden and published a revolutionary Arabic-Latin dictionary in 1653, added further reading exercises, some without translation. In particular, a brief history of the Qur’an and its structure, three ‘suras’ (Luqman, al-Ṣaf and al-Sajda), texts by al-Ḥarīrī and al-Maʿarrī, and a sermon by Eliya III. Reprinted dozens of times, Erpenius’s grammar was superseded only in the C19.

Brunet II, 1050; Graesse II, 499. The Teaching and Learning of Arabic in Early Modern Europe, ed. J. Loop et al. (Leiden, 2017).


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Ludus literarius: or, The grammar schoole; shewing how to proceede .. both to masters and schollers; onely according to our common grammar.

London, Imprinted by Felix Kyngston for Richard Meighen, 1627.


4to. [xxviii], 339, [i]. “One of four variants with different publishers’ names in the imprint.” ESTC. Roman letter, some Italic. Floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut headpieces, typographical and woodcut ornaments, label of John lawson to pastedown, early mss price mark at head of t-p. Light age yellowing, a little spotting on first few leaves, cut close at head and tail, just touching imprint, running headline and signatures in places, pale waterstain in a few places, heavier on last two leaves. A good copy in modern calf antique, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands morocco label gilt.

Rare edition of this important work on teaching in Grammar schools, one of the earliest such in English, giving tremendous insight into the methods of teaching in the Elizabethan period. “John Brinsley (fl. 1581–1633) was a schoolmaster in Leicestershire who used Lily’s Latin grammar but branched out to develop a reading survey method that was praised by Samuel Hartlib. He married a sister of Bishop Joseph Hall and moved to London, where he wrote and lectured. This work, as the subtitle announces, is ‘intended for the helping of the younger sort of teachers’. It adapts aspects of the traditional humanist education for use in smaller towns. Unlike earlier pedagogical treatises, however, emphasis is placed on close reading, instruction in the vernacular and using translations of the classics. The interlocutors are two schoolmasters, Spoudeus (in Greek, ‘diligent’), who goes to his old friend, Philoponus (‘lover of toil’), for advice about preparing lesson plans”. William E. Engel. ‘John Brinsley, Ludus literarius.’

John Brinsley (1566-1624) graduated with an MA from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1588, becoming schoolmaster at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, only a few years after Shakespeare putatively attended the grammar school in Stratford, 50 miles away. These schools were a burgeoning feature of local education in the 16th century, catering to the children of a growing middle class in market towns across England and often endowed by successful merchants or, as in the case of Stratford, newly formed town councils. Brinsley’s Ludus literarius (first published in 1612) was intended to guide ‘the younger sort of teachers, and of all schollers’ in a tried and tested application of conventional pedagogical theory. The author advocates an increased use of the vernacular in learning that parallels the contemporary divergence from the original purpose of the schools (to teach Latin grammar), alongside a familiarisation with traditional Latin texts such as those of Ovid, Cicero and Virgil. The text takes the form of a dialogue between two schoolmasters discussing the most effective teaching methods. They refer to perfecting ‘the accedence’ or inflections of Latin, an emphasis later echoed by John Milton in his Accedence commenc’t grammar (written ca 1640), which stresses the importance of familiarisation with the language first, and its grammatical rules second, in order to understand and imitate the classical literary canon. Shakespeare’s infamous ‘small Latin and less Greek’, in the words of his friend Ben Jonson, is commensurate with a formal education not necessarily extending to a university degree; yet his familiarity with classical authors, along with other supposedly advanced literary training, would not have been beyond the reach of a diligent grammar school boy developing his reading and classroom exercises in later life.” Kings College London. ‘The very age and body of the time, Grammar School Education.’

“John Brinsley.. became a ‘minister of the Word,’ and had the care of the public school at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire. The famous astrologer, William Lilly, was one of his pupils, as he himself informs us in his curious autobiography. ‘Upon Trinity Sunday 1613,’ he says, ‘my father had me to Ashby-de-la-Zouch to be instructed by one Mr. John Brinsley; one in those times of great abilities for instruction of youth in the Latin and Greek tongues; he was very severe in his life and conversation, and did breed up many scholars for the universities. In religion he was a strict puritan, not conformable wholly to the ceremonies of the church of England’ (Hist, of his Life and Times (1774), 5). Again he says: ‘In the eighteenth year of my age [i.e. in 1619 or 1620] my master Brinsley was enforced from keeping school, being persecuted by the bishop’s officers; he came to London, and then lectured in London, where he afterwards died’ (ib. 8)”. DNB.

ESTC S104677. STC 3770a. Lowndes I 272.


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Λογαριθμοτεχυια or the construction and use of the logar-ithmeticall tables by the helpe whereof, multiplication is performed by addition, division by subtraction, the extraction of the square root by bipartition, and the cube root by tripartition, &c..

London, Miles Flesher, 1648


Une table logarithmetique par laquelle on peut trouver le logarithme de quelque numbre que ce soit dessous 400000.

London [Printed by M. Flesher], 1635


24mo. Two works in one. pp. [viii], 135, [i], [clvi]. A–F12, a–F12, G6, ()1. Roman and Italic letter, text within box rule. Floriated woodcut initials, typographical ornaments, mathematical woodcuts in text, ‘Strathnaver’ in near contemporary hand on ff-ep and at head of t-p., Erwin Tomash’s label on front pastedown. Light age yellowing. A very good copy, crisp and clean in contemporary speckled calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine double ruled in compartments, red morocco label gilt, e.e.r.

A very good copy of the third edition of this rare work on logarithms. In 1624, when Wingate was in France, he produced a short tract on logarithms in which he indicates: ‘I…had the happinesse to be the first transporter of the use of these inventions into those parts.’ In 1626, he translated his French work into English and it became the first edition of this book. In the preface he indicates that it is nothing more than a condensation of the work of Henry Briggs’ Arithmetic logarithmica, which he must have acquired shortly before he left London as it was only published in 1624. This is the third edition (all of them edited by Wingate). It consists of a series of twenty-eight problems covering everything from simple multiplication to spherical geometry, followed by an appendix containing another forty-six problems in which he briefly discusses, usually in one sentence, the rule for finding the answer. The tables were apparently printed separately, perhaps for a French edition in 1635. They have French titles on both the tables and the column headings. The paper also has a different watermark from that used to print the text. Wingate’s work on arithmetic ‘Of natural and artificial arithmetick’ was used in many English schools and remained in print for more than a century. It established Wingate’s name as a writer of texts and did more for his reputation than any of his more advanced works on logarithms or instruments.

Wingate was born in Yorkshire and studied law at Oxford. Although he remained a lawyer, he was an avid amateur mathematician and writer of mathematical texts. He spent twenty-six years in Paris, where, among other things, he was tutor to the French princess Henrietta Maria. It was during his early days in Paris that he published two works (Construction, description et usage de la règle de proportion, 1624, and Arithmétique logarithmique, 1626) that introduced logarithms to the French. He returned to England in 1650 and entered politics but continued to write on mathematical subjects.

“After groundbreaking publications by the British mathematicians John Napier and Henry Briggs, Edmund Wingate, an English mathematician who was temporally based in Paris, emphasised the power of the combination of decimal fractions and common logarithms – that is to say, logarithms to the base of 10 – to assist practitioners, such as surveyors navigators and carpenters , to make the kind of calculations that they were likely to need to make in their daily workplace. On returning to England, Wingate wrote a text designed for use in schools, in which he advocated the application of decimal fractions and logarithms as a way of simplifying calculations.  M.A. Clements ‘Thomas Jefferson and his Decimals 1775–1810.’

1) ESTC R219767. Wing W3018A. Tomash & Williams W97 (This copy). 2) ESTC S95890. STC 25851.5. Tomash & Williams W98. (this copy)


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CASTIGLIONE, Baldassarre


Il libro del cortegiano.

Venice, in aedibus haer. Aldo I Manuzio & Andrea I Torresano, 1528


FIRST EDITION. Folio. 122 unnumbered ff., *4 a-o8 p6. Aldine device to t-p and verso of last. T-p and first couple of ll. a little soiled at lower outer corner, thumb marks to few others, faint splash to *2, small spot to n8 and o1, very light water stain to upper margin of last two gatherings. A very good, fresh copy, in c1700 vellum over boards, spine gilt lettered and gilt ruled in six compartments. C19 armorial bookplate to front pastedown, faded early inscription ‘L(?) Cam[ill]a Doufau’ to lower blank margin of t-p.

A very good, fresh copy of the first edition of a work which shaped and changed the culture of the European upper classes in the Renaissance. This edition is the ‘first and most sought after’ (Brunet I, 1628), ‘handsome and rare’ (Renouard 105:3). Of noble origins, Baldassarre Castiglione (1478-1529) studied ‘literae humaniores’ at Milan and was at the service of the Sforza and Gonzaga before moving to the court of the Duke of Urbino. He spent the last few years of his life as Apostolic nuncio in Spain, where he died of the plague in 1529. It was the year before his death that the first edition of ‘Il libro del Cortegiano’ appeared in print; its success was foreseen by Aldus who obtained a 10-year monopoly. The work celebrates the characteristics of the ideal aristocrat and ‘has remained the perfect definition of a gentleman ever since’ (PMM 59). It was inspired by Castiglione’s time at Urbino and his social interaction with influential personalities including courtiers, aristocrats and literati, by then mostly deceased. It was thus intended also as a celebration of their achievements since, as Castiglione said in the preface, the ‘loss of so many friends’ had left him in a ‘painful solitude’. In this dialogue, refined courtiers discuss the virtues (e.g., honesty, magnanimity and good manners) and social skills (e.g., foreign language proficiency, dancing and fencing) a perfect courtier should have, often inspired by classical antiquity, as well as the ‘sprezzatura’—a fundamental nonchalance or ‘carelessness’ guiding his every action. The resulting idea of ‘self-fashioning’, or the crafting of a public persona following received standards, influenced, thanks to numerous translations, the behaviour of the European aristocracy for decades, especially in England where C16 literature and drama were imbued with the Italian ideals of the ‘cortegiano’.

USTC 819485; BM STC It., p. 156; Brunet I, 1628: ‘la première et la plus recherchée’; Renouard 105:3: ‘belle et rare’; Ahmanson-Murphy 252; PMM 59.


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