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Riccioli's Testament With Two Lunar Maps

RICCIOLI, G.B.. Astronomia Reformata. Bologna, Heirs of Vittorio Benacci, 1665.

Folio [36.5 x 24 cm], (7) ff., including general title printed in red and black and title proper, xii, 374 pp.; (4) ff., 35 (1) pp.; 128 pp., with 2 engraved folding lunar maps and numerous woodcuts in text. Bound in contemporary stiff vellum, pasteboards exposed in places, head and tail of spine chipped. Title and following 2 leaves re-margined in gutter and in upper blank margin; repairs to a few small blank areas of title; some discoloration and minor foxing to scattered leaves; generally a wide-margined, fresh copy, very good.


Scarce first edition of Riccioli’s anti-Copernican, Tychonic geo-centrist cosmology, presenting an astronomy cleared (so he claims) of theoretical as well as observational errors. It is considered a conclusion to the Almagestum novum of 1651. “Riccioli described sunspots, compiled star catalogues, and recorded his observation of a double star; he also noted the colored bands parallel to the equator of Jupiter and made observations of Saturn that, if he had had better instruments, might had led him to recognize its rings” (DSB). The maps, drawn by Francesco Maria Grimaldi, established the nomenclature of the principal features of lunar topography.

As the Jesuits’ leading astronomer, Riccioli’s observational and experimental achievements offered refinements of Galilean quantitative experimental procedures that were significantly more accurate. Although he intended to refute Galileo’s results, he often unwittingly confirmed them.

* Backer Sommervogel VI.1801.9; Riccardi I.373; L. Campedelli in DSB XI, 411.

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