"The first important translation" (DSB)

[Euclid]. - Proclus Diadochus. In primum Euclidis elementorum librum commentariorum ad universam mathematicam disciplinam principium eruditionis tradentium libri IV.

Padua, Grazioso Percacino, 1560.

Folio (215 x 300 mm). (16), 272, (24) pp. With woodcut device on t. p. (Minerva and Mercury holding the wing tips of a rising phoenix), woodcut portrait on reverse, and printer's device on final leaf, as well as numerous mathematical diagrams in the text. Contemporary Italian limp vellum with ms. spine title.


First Latin edition of one of the major works by Proclus Lycaeus (412-485), founder and head of the neo-Platonic school of Athens: a commentary on the first book of Euclid's "Elements of Geometry", the "oldest mathematical textbook in the world still in common use today" (PMM). Includes the text of the theorems, set within ornamental woodcut framings, and the geometrical diagrams. The editor and translator Francesco Barozzi (1537-1604) taught at the University of Padua. He was later charged with sorcery (in particular, he was said to have caused a torrential rainstorm over his native Crete) and condemned by the Inquisition in 1587. "Barocius' edition of Proclus' commentary on the first book of Euclid's 'Elements' was the first important translation of this work, for it was based on better manuscripts than previous efforts had been. The translation, published in 1560, was completed by Barocius at the age of twenty-two" (DSB). His portrait on the reverse of the title page is cut within a magnificent border.

Old ms. ownership on flyleaf obliterated (probably in the early 19th century); old ownership stamp over title woodcut erased, replaced by a different coat of arms in ink, very likely that of the Italian comital family Antico (insignificant bleeding to reverse). Occasional slight waterstaining, still an exceptionally appealing, clean copy.

Edit 16, CNCE 33726. Adams P 2138. BM-STC Italian 540. Mortimer 403. Honeyman 2543. DSB I, 468. Brunet IV, 895. Riccardi I/1, 82, 1 ("Bella e rara edizione"). Cf. PMM 25.

Stock Code: BN#34116 Tags: , ,