Rome: Simon Nicolai Cardella de Luca, 1478.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #002305
Folio (327 x 225 mm). 390 (of 392) leaves. Without printed signatures and page numbers, collation: [a8; b12 c-g10 h8 i-k10 l-q8 r-u10 x8 (-x1^8) y-z10 A10 B8 C-S10]. Lacking bifolium [x1^8], blank [b1] present. Title and imprints from colophon on leaf [S3] recto. Text printed in gothic type in two columns, tables of contents also in three, and printer's register in four columns. 18th century half vellum over marbled boards, spine titled and ruled in gilt (little wear to spine and extremities, corners bumped). Unrubricated copy. Paper only very little browned, a few light brown spots in places, light dampstaining and soiling to final few leaves. Numerous contemporary and later ink marginalia and a few text markings. Provenance: Giacomo Manzoni* (small ex-libris "Jacobi Manzoni" to front pastedown). A fine copy. ----
PMM 17b; Honeyman 49; DSB I, 102; Hain-Copinger-R. 545; GW 587; BMC IV, 75; Goff A-223; Stillwell 566. - FIRST EDITION. One of the outstanding works of scientific interest written between the time of Pliny and the sixteenth century. Based largely on Aristotle, but offset by occasional observations and an attitude of mind indicative of a scientific point of view (Stillwell). Albertus' De animalibus was edited by Fernando de Córdoba for the first printing and is the second zoological work in the history of book printing after Theodor Gaza's translation of Aristotle's De animalibus in 1476.
Albertus' De animalibus libri was widely used not only in the 13th and 14th centuries, but also in the age of Humanism, in the form of manuscripts and printed editions as well, and until the ?rst half of the 16th century, it retained its status as an authoritative text. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was available not only in Iatin editions, but also in vernacular translations, enriched with illustrations (Enekel & Smith, Zoology in Early Modern Culture. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2014, p.212). "The year 1249 marked a turning point in the intellectual career of Albert the Great. This was the year he ?nally acceded to the pleas of his Dominican confreres to compose a work explaining the natural science of Aristotle. The immediate product of this decision was Albert's paraphrastic commentary on the Physics, but there were long-term results as well. This work was but the ?rst part of what was to become one of the major literary productions of the Middle Ages; a production which would establish Albert as, according to his envious contemporary Roger Bacon, an auctoritas on equal footing with Avicenna, Averroes, and Aristotle himself. Albert's project, intended to 'make the new learning of Aristotle intelligible to the Latins,' was largely concerned with the natural sciences. He not only commented extensively on all of Aristotle's libri naturales; but also recorded his own extensive researches in several ?elds. By far the largest part of this vast compilation of the sciences is that devoted to zoology. Albert's massive De animalibus libri XXVI is not only the longest of his Aristotelian commentaries but also represents one of the most extensive records of empirical observation published before modern times." (K. F. Kitchell Jr., I. M. Resnick, On Animals: A Medieval Summa Zoologica by Albertus Magnus, Review by M. W. Tkacz, The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 55, No. 2, p.371).
Two issues of the first edition are known; in the present the printer's name is omitted from the colophon. Both issues of the first edition are very rare: only one complete copies has appeared at auction in the past 60 years. Another copy sold in 2004 was lacking the eight preliminary leaves and in a poorer condition. In our copy, the missing single bifolium in gathering x was apparently never bound in.
*Giacomo Manzoni, bibliophile and scion of an aristocratic family of Milan, who died in 1889. His library was sold in 1892-93.
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