Elementorum libri XV ex Theonis colloquiis. In primum librum commentariorum Procli libri IV [in Greek.] Adiecta praefatiuncula in qua de disciplinis mathematicis nonnihil. Baslleae [Basel]: Apud Joan. Hervagium, 1533.

Price £ GBP 18000.00

Folio, pp. (xii), 268, 115, (1). Greek type, printer’s woodcut device on title and last page, first page of text within woodcut border, woodcut initials and headpieces, diagrams in the text throughout. Seventeenth century vellum over boards, red morocco label on spine, modern bookplate. Inscription erased from front pastedown, also from lower margin of title and very neatly repaired, small ink blot in lower margin of 3 leaves, a few leaves very slightly browned, but a fine and fresh copy.

EDITIO PRINCEPS (the first edition in the original Greek) of the ‘Elements of Geometry’ of Euclid (fl. c. 300 B.C.). This work is the oldest mathematical textbook in the world still in common use today, and the one that has had the most long-lasting influence on the entire history of science; it “has exercised an influence upon the human mind greater than that of any other work except the Bible” (DSB). No other work of science can claim such importance combined with such antiquity. Much of the contents of the Elements was already known by Euclid’s time, but its synthesis and an absolutely rigorous and inflexibly logical arrangement that defies improvement ensured its success and made the Elements a model for future generations. The first edition of 1482 is an outstanding piece of printing and an example for subsequent mathematical books, but it is textually flawed, being a translation into Latin from the Arabic and representing Euclid “very inadequately” (Ency. Brit., 1911). The present edition of the original Greek is therefore a very valuable text, edited by Simon Grynaeus from two manuscripts and dedicated to Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham. It is also the first edition to print Euclid’s diagrams inset in the text. Following the Elements are 115 pages containing the commentary on the first book of the Elements by Proclus (412–485 A.D.). This commentary “is of considerable value for the study of ancient Greek geometry because of the historical information which it contains, derived from the lost works of Eudemos…and Geminos” (Sarton, I, p. 403), and it is the authority for most of our information about Euclid. See Stillwell, The awakening interest in science, II, 163. Thomas-Stanford 7. Norman catalogue 730.

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