THE STANDARD OF ALL PRE-RENAISSANCE ASTRONOMY

Almagestum seu magnae constructionis mathematicae opus (bound with) Astronomicon Lib. VIII. Per Nicolaum Prucknerum Astrologum nuper ab innumeris mendis vindicati. His acesserunt. . . .

Venice; Basel: Lucantonio Giunta; J. Herwagen, 1528; 1533. Folio. 150 leaves; final blank present; [xvi], 244, 143, [89] pp. FIRST EDITION, FIRST STAT. I: Roman, gothic and Greek types. Title in red and black, printer's woodcut device on title and ornamental woodcut initials. Woodcut mathematical diagrams in margins. II: Woodcut diagrams and tables, woodcut historiated initials, printer’s device on verso of final leaf. Contemporary blind-stamped pigskin-backed wooden boards, authors names written in contemporary ink on the fore-edge; an impressive, beautiful and large copy annotated throughout. Item #19560

First edition of the first translation of the Almagest from the original Greek. Until 1528, the only Latin translation was from the Arabic. George of Trebizon (d. 1485) made the present translation from a Greek manuscript in the Vatican. It was edited by the Renaissance mathematician Luca Gaurico (d. 1558), and dedicated to Pope Nicholas who had commissioned the work. George of Trebizon withdrew the dedication when his commentary was criticized by Bessarion and others. The texts were re-dedicated by his son to Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84), and the dedication manuscripts survive in the Vatican Library.

"The Almagest, a masterpiece of clarity and method, was superior to any ancient scientific textbook and with few peers from any period" (DSB). In this astronomical encyclopaedia, Ptolemy gave a catalogue of the visible fixed stars based on Hipparchus' work and perfected a system explaining the movements of the planets. It was consulted by Copernicus, who derived from the Almagest many of his data, geometrical devices, and the material for his star catalogue, as well as descriptions of the latitudes of the inferior planets. The present edition of Ptolemy's Almagest was the most important of his astronomical and mathematical works; it covers every aspect of theoretical mathematical astronomy, and was the entire basis of all astronomy up to the publication of works by Tycho Brahe and Kepler.

Price: $60,000.00