Commentarius in sphaeram procli diadochi.

HENISCH Georg (1609)


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Woodcut celestial globe on title page, 14 woodcut diagrams, 2 folding leaves. Greek and roman type, text in two columns. 

4to (200 x 165mm). [4]ff, 367pp, [11]ff (final leaf blank). Contemporary limp vellum, title inked at head of spine, remains of paper shelf label at foot, overlapping fore-edges (lacking ties, minor worming at hinges). 

Augustae Vindelicorum [Augsburg], David Franck, 1609

Presentation copy from the author to Conrad Pius Peutinger (1520-1613), son of the Augsburg diplomat and humanist.

Attractive edition in very good condition of prolific mathematician, medic, astronomer and philosopher Georg Henisch's (1549-1618) Latin translation of the Sphaera. Henisch's first translation of the Sphaera was printed in Augsburg in 1575 as part of his Tabulae Institutionum Astronomicarum; for this, the first edition of the work on its own, he revised the text and added a commentary based, as he writes, on his lectures at the Gymnasium St Anna in Augsburg where he taught logic and mathematics. After the translation and before the commentary is a discussion of the subject matter, including a list of definitions and hypotheses from geometry, physics and astronomy (Todd, 47). 

While attributed to fourth-century neo-Platonist Proclus, the Sphaera was in fact an excerpt of four chapters of Geminus' Elementa Astronomiaewritten in the first century BC; mistakes of attribution likely took place in the fifteenth century (Todd, 12) and were addressed only a century later, in 1585, by Francesco Barozzi who identified them as a portion of the Elementa rather than an independent treatise. In spite of this, Henisch's commentary, written after this discovery, 'has few references to ancient or modern authorities and...although Geminus is cited, the Sphaera is not identified as an excerpt from his treatise' (Todd, 47). A discourse on celestial and terrestrial geography, the Sphaera was a popular work, with over sixty editions produced between 1499 and 1620 (Todd, 'The Manuscripts', 57). 

Provenance: Presentation inscription at foot of title page by Henisch to Conrad Pius Peutinger: 'Clarissimo viro D. Conrado Pio Peutingero I.V.D. ac advocato Reip. AUG. dd. autor.' Bookplate on front paste-down and inscription at head of title page of the library of Benedictine monastery of St. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg (which received substantial donations over the course of its history, including from Augsburg merchant Anton Welser (1451-1518) who donated a library of over 5000 works (H.J. Künast, 'Welserbibliotheken', in M. Häberlein, J Burkhardt (eds) Die Welser (Berlin, 2014 reprint), p.552). Stamp in central portion of title page of the 'Königl. Kreisbibliothek in Augsburg', now the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg, which acquired the majority of the monastery's library after it was dissolved in 1802. Further ownership note in different hand at foot of title page. 

Small tear at gutter of first fold-out plate, slightly touching text, otherwise in very good condition. 

VD17 23:289511T. Schweiger (Greek), 276. Hoffman III, 291-2. 

R.B. Todd, 'The Manuscripts of the Pseudo-Proclan Sphaera', Revue d'histoire des textes 23 (1993), 57-71. R. B. Todd, 'Geminus, Ps.-Proclan Sphaera', V. Brown (ed.), Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum: Medieval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries, Annotated List and Guides, vol. VIII (Washington DC, 2003), pp.24-48. 

Stock Code: 228991

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