First edition of Kepler's longest and most influential work
Epitome astronomicae Copernicanae [libri I. II. III] de doctrina sphaerica / Epitomes astronomiae Copernicanae Liber quartus. Doctrinae theoricae primus: quo physica Coelestis / Epitomes astronomiae Copernicanae libri V. VI. VII. quibus proprie doctrina theorica.
Linz / Frankfurt: Johann Planck / Gottfried Tampach, 1618.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #003361
Epitome astronomicae Copernicanae [libri I. II. III] de doctrina sphaerica. Linz: Johann Planck, 1618. - Epitomes astronomiae Copernicanae Liber quartus. Doctrinae theoricae primus: quo physica Coelestis. Linz: Johann Planck and Frankfurt: Gottfried Tampach, 1622. - Epitomes astronomiae Copernicanae libri V. VI. VII. quibus proprie doctrina theorica. Frankfurt: for Gottfried Tampach, 1621. Three parts in one volume, 8vo (156 x 93 mm). , 1-400, 409-417, ; , 419-622, ; , 641-932,  pp. Several mispaginations. Signatures: *6 (**-***)4 A-2B8 2C6 (C6 blank); [2 daggers]8 3A-3M8; [dagger]6 4A-4S8 4T2 4V8. Numerous woodcut illustrations and diagrams in text, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, folding letterpress table facing p.821, errata leaf after p.622, blank C6. Bound in French 17th-century calf, spine with 5 raised bands and gilt decoration, ruling and lettering in compartments, boards with gilt Duseuil decoration and central medaillon monogrammed "C I", marbled pastedowns, all edges gilt (extremities worn, spine ends chipped with loss, corners scuffed, hinges split but cords holding firmly). Text little evenly browned throughout, occasional very minor spotting, a few contemporary ink annotations, tiny hole in Eee7 costing two letters recto/verso. Provenance: ownership inscription on first title ink-canceled (offsetting of ink to following leaf) and another erased causing small hole backed by paper (no text affected), P. Brauman (20th century stamp on first flyleaf). A very good copy with ample margins and in untouched binding; collated complete. ----
FIRST EDITION, second issue of part II. Following the publication of his Astronomia nova in 1609, Kepler was asked to write a more popular exposition of Copernican astronomy; however, "despite its title, Kepler's Epitome was more an introduction to Keplerian than to Copernican astronomy" (DSB, p.302). The work was written during a period of upheaval (Kepler's mother had been charged with witchcraft and threatened with torture, and the first volume's advocacy of the Copernican system soon earned it a place on the Index librorum prohibitorum), and the seven books were issued in three installments of inexpensive octavo volumes, titled "Doctrina spherica," "Physica coelestis," and "Doctrina theorica," over a period of four years. Despite its physical appearance, it is "Kepler's longest and most influential work. J. L. Russell has maintained that from 1630 to 1650 the Epitome was the most widely read treatise on theoretical astronomy in Europe." (DSB, p.302). Intended as an easily-comprehensible textbook of the new heliocentric astronomy, the Epitome was laid-out in a catechetical form which imparted the information through questions and answers, employing a technique typical of many astronomical textbooks of the period. Beyond its stated educational purpose, the Epitome also expanded on Copernican theory - with regard to the motions of the earth, Kepler extended Copernicus' work and correctly formulated the principles which Galileo would in turn discuss in more detail in his Dialogo of 1632 -- and served to enlarge upon Kepler's own work: "the most remarkable section ... was book IV, on theoretical astronomy, subtitled, 'Celestial Physics' . . . to a great extent it epitomized both the Harmonice mundi [of 1619] and the new lunar theory that Kepler completed in April 1620 . . . The harmonic law, which Kepler had discovered in 1619 and announced virtually without comment in the Harmonice mundi, received an extensive theoretical justification in the Epitome" (DSB, p.303).
There are two issues of part II, Liber quartus: one with the original title page by Johann Planck of Linz, dated 1620, and a second issue, with the title page mentioning Gottfried Tampach (Frankfurt) as printer and dated 1622. The latter issue has the first gathering Praefatio (pp. 419-432) reset with slightly differing type and woodcut ornaments, whereas the main text is completely identical with the Linz edition which leads to the assumption that the remaining original sheets of this part printed in Linz were used up in the reissue. References: Caspar 55, 69 and 66; Cinti 60, 72, and 67; DSB VII, pp.302-4; Houzeau & Lancaster 11831.
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