Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 1483.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003073
4 July 1483. 4to (214 x 157 mm). 93 unfoliated leaves (of 94, without initial blank). Collation: a-l8 m6 (-a1, a2r incipit, text of the Canons of John of Saxony, b3v supplement to the Canons of John of Saxony, c1r astronomical tables, m3r explanation of figure of solar eclipse, m3v woodcut diagram of solar eclipse, m4r explanation of figure of lunar eclipse, m4v diagram of lunar eclipse, m5r table of the latitude and longitude of principal European and North African cities, m6r colophon, m6v blank). Text in 40 to 43 lines, gothic type 4:76G, white-on-black woodcut floriated initials with fine hand-coloring, incipit printed in red, smaller lombard initials, woodcut diagrams in text, red paraphs and initial-strokes. Modern polished and speckled calf, spine with 4 raised bands and gilt lettering, customized folding cloth box. Old hand lettering to upper edge. Text pages with light brown staining at upper and lower edges (stronger at bottom margin of leaf d7 only), but generally clean and crisp. Provenance: Cesare Malfatti, armorial bookplate (pasted into new binding); Erwin Tomash (bought from Martayan Lan, 1989). A fine, wide-margined copy. ----
Tomash & Williams A59 (this copy); Norman 36; ISTC ia00534000; Crone Library 1; Redgrave, Ratdolt 34; Stillwell Science 14; DSB I, p.122. - RARE FIRST EDITION of the Toledan Tables of the Cordoban astronomer al-Zarqali (c.1029-c.1087), commonly known as the Alphonsine tables after the patron who commissioned their translation. This Latin version, which circulated widely in the Middle Ages, was translated from an earlier Spanish version that is now lost. It is the most famous of numerous translations commissioned by Alfonso X, 'el Sabio,' of Arabic scientific, legal, and magical treatises. Although the translation contains new observations, made from 1262 and 1272, it follows the overall format of al-Zarqali's compilation and adheres to the Ptolemaic system for explaining celestial motion. The present text follows a revised version of the tables completed in the early 14th century; Ratdolt prefaced it with the first appearance of John (Danck) of Saxony's almost equally popular canons, written in 1327, which completed the Alphonsine tables in several areas, including supplementary tables of the eclipses and several chapters on the latitudes of the planets.
"Alfonso had a keen interest in astronomy and had many Arabic manuscripts on the subject translated. He also ordered that a new calculation of the Toledan astronomical tables be made to replace those compiled by the Cordoban astronomer al-Zarquli some two hundred years earlier. These new Tablas Alfonsinas, also done in Toledo, were completed by Judah ben Moses (a Spanish/Jewish physician and astronomer) and Isaac ibn Sid (a Spanish/Jewish astronomer and collector of instruments) about 1272. No original copies of these Alphonsine tables are extant; however, they were translated from Spanish into Latin in the first part of the fourteenth century and in this form remained a major influence on European astronomy for the next three hundred years. During the translation from Spanish to Latin, a number of changes were introduced into the tables (differences in the date of the epoch upon which they are based and also differences in the latitude of Toledo). The resulting tables remained in general use until superseded by Kepler's Tabulae Rudolphinae in 1627." (Tomash & Williams). - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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