Venice: per Gregorium de Gregoriis expensis Benedicti Fontanae, 1496.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. Item #003281
July 13, 1496. Folio (311 x 215 mm). , 403 (i.e., 503),  leaves. Signatures: aa4 a-g8 h6 i-s8 t6 u-x8 y6 z8 &8 [cum]8 [rum]8 A8 B-C6 D-N8 O6 P-OO8 PP-QQ6. 44 lines and headline, types 135G, 110R; printer's device and colophon on QQ6r, leaf h6 blank, several pagination errors (page numbering jumps from 199 to 100). 351 woodcut diagrams in text, ornamental and historiated woodcut initials on black ground. Occasional rubrication in dark red with initial strokes and partly filled woodcut initials. Several deckle edges preserved. Copiously annotated in Latin and Greek in at least four different contemporary hands using red, brown and black ink. Bound in contemporary (original) calf over wooden boards, richly blind-stamped in a checked pattern with additional blind ruling, original brass clasps, catches and leather straps. Spine ends chipped, hinges partially cracked but bands holding firmly, leather rubbed, extremities worn. Paper somewhat browned, a few leaves stronger, occasional minor spotting, ink smudges and marginal soiling, final two leaves with light dampstain towards lower corner, first leaf with old paper repair at top margin, upper corner of leaf k1 torn not affecting text. Provenances: illegible ownership inscription on front pastedown dated MDL, partially cancelled inscription on first leaf recto dated 1554 and with motto "vinit post funera virtus" (wine after the funeral) added; Václav Perek* (original invoice with envelope by bookseller Gilhofer & Ranschburg Vienna dated Dec. 14, 1916 attached). An outstanding, broad-margined copy in original binding. ----
De Caelo et Mundo (On the Heavens) is Aristotle's chief cosmological treatise: written in 350 BC it contains his astronomical theory and his ideas on the concrete workings of the terrestrial world. According to Aristotle in On the Heavens, the heavenly bodies are the most perfect realities, (or 'substances'), whose motions are ruled by principles other than those of bodies in the sublunary sphere. The latter are composed of one or all of the four classical elements (earth, water, air, fire) and are perishable; but the matter of which the heavens are made is imperishable aether, so they are not subject to generation and corruption. Hence their motions are eternal and perfect, and the perfect motion is the circular one, which, unlike the earthly up-and down-ward locomotions, can last eternally selfsame - an early predecessor to Newton's First Law of Motion. European philosophers had a similarly complex relationship with De Caelo, attempting to reconcile church doctrine with the mathematics of Ptolemy and the structure of Aristotle. Aristotle proposed a geocentric model of the universe in On the Heavens. The Earth is the center of motion of the universe, with circular motion being perfect because Earth was at the center of it. There can only be one center of the universe, and as a result there are no other inhabited worlds within it besides Earth. As such the Earth is unique and alone in this regard. Aristotle theorized that beyond the sublunary sphere and the heavens is an external spiritual space that mankind cannot fathom directly. This work is significant as one of the defining pillars of the Aristotelian worldview, a school of philosophy that dominated intellectual thinking for almost two millennia. Similarly, this work and others by Aristotle were important seminal works by which much of scholasticism was derived. (Wikisource).
For the entire work see: Klebs 82.7; Goff A-966; Hain 1659; Proctor 4552; British Museum Cat. V 349. - RARE FIRST AND ONLY EDITION IN THIS FORM. The only Opera Latina of Aristotle printed in the 15th century as a single, unified edition emerged from Gregorii's shop, for Benedetto Fontana on 13 July 1496 (see Goff A-966). This edition, for which Fontana held a ten-year privilege, included in one volume almost all of Aristotle's known or earlier attributed works on Natural Science, but omitted the traditional commentaries of Averroes, Johannes de Mechlinia, and others. It contains some texts which do not exist in early separate editions: de coloribus, de plantis, de vegetabilibus, de respiratione et inspiratione, de Nilo, de lineis insecabilibus, de causis. The translations were made by Argyropoulos, Georgius Valla, Leonardus Aretinus and others. Some other tracts, e.g. the Liber sex principiorum of Gilbert de la Porree, are added. It begins with a letter of Democritus to Fontana in praise of his enterprise in publishing Aristotle, followed by an address to the reader summarizing the ten years' exclusive privilege of printing and selling Aristotle's works granted to Fontana on 26 March, 1496.
*Václav Perek (1859-1940) was a Bohemian lawyer and politician.
Content: Physica, Metaphysica, De caelo et mundo, De anima, Ethica ad Nicomachum, Praedicamenta, De interpretatione, Analytica priora et posteriora transl. from Greek; Physica, De anima and Posteriora with dedication to Piero or Cosimo de' Medici by Johannes Argyropulos; Ethica with dedication to Virginio Orsini by Petrus Marsus; Ethica ad Eudemum, Politica transl. from Greek and Politica with introduction by Leonardus Brunus; Topica, Elenchi sophistici transl. from the Greek by Boethius; Parva naturalia, De animalibus
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