Eukleidou Optika kai katoptrika [in Greek] Optica & Catoptrica, nunquam antehac Graece aedita. Eadem Latine reddita per Ioannem Penam…

Parisiis: Apud Andream Wechelum… 1557

2 parts in 1 volume, 4to, pp. (xx), 48; (iv), 64. The text of the first part is printed in Greek. Woodcut device on titles (the second much larger), woodcut headpieces and initials, diagrams in the text, a copy with generous margins, lightly ruled in red throughout. Some light browning, last page dust-soiled and with a repair to the upper inner corner just touching one letter. 20th century marbled boards with vellum spine, red morocco label. Some early marginalia in Latin and Greek; old manuscript note in Greek on flyleaf; bookplate of David L. DiLaura.

FIRST SEPARATE EDITION and the editio princeps of Euclid’s Optica and Catoptrica, in Greek with their Latin translations. The Optica is the earliest surviving text on optics and light in the western world. “The Optica presents the phenomena of visible light and the Euclidian idea of vision rays emanating from the eye, comfortably aligned with and analyzed by geometry. It re-emerged as an important text in the 15th century for its use in the theory of linear perspective. The Catoptrica, a treatise on mirrors attributed by Proclus to Euclid, covers the mathematical theory of mirrors, particularly the images formed by plane and spherical concave mirrors” (DiLaura). The Optica remained the only work on the subject until Ptolemy’s. It is here translated and edited by Jean Pena, professor of mathematics at Paris and former student of Peter Ramus. “Pena sought to completely and accurately present the whole of the optical and vision teaching of Euclid, in part as a balance to what he considered the uncritical acceptance of Witelo and Peckham common at that time… Pena presents the Euclidian work on the geometrical optics of vision and mirrors and even more influentially, includes the preface De Usu Optices — ‘The Use of Optics’— for which Pena’s book became famous. In it, he summarized optical principles including refraction, and claimed that practical astronomical knowledge and optical laws demonstrated that Aristotle's celestial spheres could not exist” (ibid). DiLaura, Bibliotheca Opticoria, 26.


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