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Basel Euclid In A Contemporary Binding

EUCLID. Elementorum geometricorum libri XV. Basel, Johannes Herwagen, 1546.

Folio [31 x 21.5 cm], (4) ff., 587, (1) pp. with numerous woodcut initials and diagrams in text. Bound in contemporary flexible vellum, title inked on spine; some chipping to extremities, back cover with some damage along front edge, ties missing. ‘Evclid * Campani” neatly stenciled on lower fore-edge. Ownership inscription of ‘Barth(olomeo) Nicholini?’ on title. Some toning and inoffensive foxing; pale waterstain in top and bottom of gutter of scattered leaves; a good copy and very genuine


A genuine and attractive copy of the Basel Euclid in a contemporary binding. This edition contains the whole of the Euclidean corpus: in addition to the Elements in the different versions of Campanus, Navara and Zamberti, the Phaenomena, Catoptrica, and Data, it contains the first printing of the Opusculum de Levi & ponderoso, a fragment of which was discovered just as the present work’s first edition was about to be printed in 1537.

“No work by Euclid on mechanics is extent in Greek, nor is he credited with any mechanical works by ancient writers. According to Arabic sources, however, he wrote a Book on the Heavy and the Light, and when Hervagius was about to publish his 1537 edition there was brought to him a mutilated fragment, de levi et ponderoso, which he included as one of Euclid’s works... It is the most precise exposition that we possess of the Aristotelian dynamics of freely moving bodies.” – Ivor Bulmer-Thomas in DSB IV.431. The attribution of the work to Euclid (and so its inclusion here) has subsequently been challenged by some scholars, though its importance as a text of ancient mechanics is clear (see the balanced judgement of Clagett quoted in DSB, ibid.)

According to Thomas Stanford, the present edition is a reprint of the 1537; and it was reprinted yet again in 1557/8.

* Adams E-975; Thomas-Stanford 11.

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