Venice: Peter Liechtenstein, 1515.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Very Good. Item #003634
10 January 1515. Folio (312 x 220 mm). , 152 leaves. Signatures: *2 a-z6 A6 B8. Woodcut initials, several woodcut diagrams at text margins, final page with woodcut printer's device printed in red and black above colophon. Some neat early annotations at start of text, title page a bit finger soiled, small tear in leaf A6, faint dampstain to lower blank gutter of about 20 leaves at beginning, tiny worm hole at foot, well away from text area. [Bound with:] PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. Quadriparti. Ptolo. que in hoc volumine contentur hec sunt: Liber quadripartiti Ptolemei. Centiloquium eiusdem. Centiloquium Hermetis... Venice: Ottaviano Scoto, 6 February 1519. , 140 leaves. Signatures: 2a4 A-Q8 R-S6. Woodcut initials and horoscopic diagrams, woodcut printer's device below colophon. Bifolium S1_6 at end somewhat browned. Two works in one volume. Bound in contemporary Italian blind-tooled calf, title lettered across head of upper cover "ALMAGESTUM CL PTOLEMEI" (rebacked retaining most of original spine, sewing untouched, leather spotted and soiled, lacking 4 pairs of ties). The text exceptionally crisp and clean throughout, very minor occasional spotting confined mostly close to outer edges. An outstanding, tall and crisp copy in its first binding and with some deckle edges still preserved. ----
EDITIO PRINCEPS of Ptolemy's complementary astronomical and astrological works. His astronomical survey, the Almagest, appears here in the first printing of Gerard of Cremona's Latin translation, made in Toledo in the twelfth century from an Arabic manuscript. It contains a star catalogue in books seven and eight which were still being used by Halley at the beginning of the eighteenth century, although Tycho Brahe had already corrected some of the coordinates. Ptolemy also describes various instruments for measuring the heavens.
"It was commonly assumed that [Ptolemy's] conceptions could be traced back to an essentially Aristotelian cosmology. As a matter of fact, Aristotle and Ptolemy were in agreement with regard to the sphericity of the Earth and its position at the center of the universe, as well as the sphericity and the circular motion of the heavens. Hence, the physical considerations of the philosopher and the mathematical arguments of the Alexandrine astronomer could reinforce each other concerning these central issues. What is more, the Almagest began with a mention of Aristotle's partition of speculative knowledge into the three disciplines (mathematics, physics and theology) and repeated some physical theories of Aristotle... In this consensual spirit, Sacrobosco, for one, assumed the essential concordance between Aristotle and Ptolemy and could therefore rely on both authorities in his (very) elementary introduction to spherical astronomy which, in spite of its intrinsic scientific limits, was one of the most successful textbooks ever. In Latin Europe, an 'Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology' thus emerged, bringing together elements from both classical authorities. This unified geocentric worldview was assumed by most philosophers and theologians, for instance Robert Grosseteste. In his narrative of the Copernican revolution, Kuhn therefore felt legitimized to talk about an Aristotelian-Ptolemaic 'paradigm' which Copernicus' De revolutionibus was to undermine." (Omodeo, Pietro Daniel and Tupikova, Irina (2016). Cosmology and Epistemology: A Comparison between Aristotle's and Ptolemy's Approaches to Geocentrism. In: Spatial Thinking and External Representation: Towards a Historical Epistemology of Space. Berlin: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften").
The second work is on the philosophy and practice of astrology, emphasising its logical aspects, and it contains details on the significance of comets and eclipses as well as numerous horoscopes. Ptolemy called the first work Mathematical Composition, but the transmission of the text through the medieval Islamic world resulted in the Arabic title al-Majisti. Similarly, his Quatrobiblon is a Latin version of the Greek title Τετραβιβλος, "In four books", although it is thought that Ptolemy called this text Αποτελεσματικα, "Effects". The text of the Quadripartitum is printed alongside other similar astrological works, attributed to Hermes, Al-Battani, Al-Mansur, Plato of Tivoli and Al-Misri. Ratdolt printed an edition of just the Quadripartitum and Centiloquium in 1484, and Peter Liechtenstein printed a volume entitled Liber novem iudicium in iudiciis astrorum, containing many of these supplementary works, in 1509.
References: Adams P-2213; Houzeau & Lancaster 865; Stillwell 97; DSB XI, p. 196; Norman 1760 (for the 1528 edition).
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