NECKAM, Alexander.

De Naturis Rerum libri duo. With the poem of the same author, De Laudibus Divinæ Sapientiæ. Edited by Thomas Wright. Published by the authority of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury, under the direction of the Master of the Rolls.

London: Longman,... .1863

8vo, pp. 4, lxviii, (ii), 521, (1), (15)adverts. Original grey-green boards, maroon pebbled cloth spine, uncut (edges of boards rubbed, lower corners a little worn), a very good copy. Treasury presentation label on front endpaper.

FIRST EDITION of one of the earliest English works of science, written before those of Sacrobosco, Pecham, and Roger Bacon. Neckam (1157–1217) studied in St. Albans and Paris, and wrote his De naturis rerum before 1200. It was intended to be a manual of the scientific knowledge of the time, and as such is a monument to the history of science in western Europe, particularly in England, during the latter half of the twelfth century, but it is also enriched by a wealth of anecdotes and stories which illustrate the conditions and manners of the age. It contains the earliest description of the use of the magnet as a mariner’s compass, and of mirrors of glass. Wheeler Gift 1576.


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