Fundamental work of Renaissance astronomy, a source for Copernicus and Galileo: wide-margined copy

Regiomontanus, Johannes. In Ptolemaei magnam compositionem, quam Almagestum vocant, libri tredecim [...]. In quibus universa doctrina de coelestibus motibus, magnitudinibus, eclipsibus &c. in Epitomen redacta, proponitur.

Nuremberg, Johann Berg & Ulrich Neuber, 1550.

Folio (220 x 308 mm). (228) pp., 1 blank leaf. Title-page printed in red and black. With woodcut initials, diagrams, and printer's device. Contemporary vellum using an earlier manuscript page.


Second complete edition (the third altogether) of one of the fundamental works of Renaissance astronomy: the "Epitome" of Ptolemy's Almagest, edited by and with the comments of Regiomontanus and Georg Peurbach, first published in Venice in 1496. This summary of the Almagest, itself one of the most influential scientific texts of all time, was begun by Peurbach at the request of Cardinal Bessarion and completed by Regiomontanus in 1463. It would be used by Copernicus as well as by Galileo Galilei. The editor of the present edition was Erasmus Flock (1514-68), a student of Georg Joachim Rheticus who succeeded his teacher in Wittenberg as lecturer of astronomy and authored two pamphlets on comets.

"The importance of this book lies in the fact that it enshrines, within the editor's commentary, the first appearance in print, in a Latin translation from the Greek, of the monumental compendium of Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria known as the 'Almagest' (an Arabic portmanteau word derived from the Greek for 'the great astronomer') [...] The 'Almagest' ist an encyclopaedia of astronomical knowledge [...] which established astronomy as a mathematical discipline" (PMM).

Title slightly brownstained. Spine restored, rebacked and lacking ties. An unusually appealing, clean and wide-margined copy with all of the diagrams intact.

VD 16, S 6535. Adams R 284. BM-STC German 718. Honeyman 2608. Houzeau/L. 2261. Zinner 1997. Macclesfield 1699 (s .v. Ptolemy). Cf. PMM 40.

Stock Code: BN#50103 Tags: , ,