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    Sale 7471

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    14 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 118

    BESSARION, Johannes, Cardinal (d.1472). In calumniatorem Platonis Venice: Aldus, 1516. [Bound with:]

    Price Realised  


    BESSARION, Johannes, Cardinal (d.1472). In calumniatorem Platonis Venice: Aldus, 1516. [Bound with:]

    [FONTANA, Giovanni da (c.1395-c.1455)]. De omnibus rebus naturalibus. Coelestibus et terrestribus necnon mathematicis. Et de angelis motoribus quae coelorum. Venice: Octavianus Scotus D. Amadei, 1544.

    2 works in one volume, 2° (305 x 197mm). First work with Aldine device on title, second title, and verso of final blank; second work with woodcut allegorical device and numerous woodcut illustrations throughout, including a map. (Title with light soiling, very faint dampstain in outer margin of the first few leaves; g4 and g5 of first work transposed; second work with a few shoulder-notes and diagrams shaved.) Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards, later paper label on spine (recased, a few small expert repairs, new straps and strap-fittings preserving the ?original catches and clasps). Provenance: a few marginal annotations in a 16th-century reader.

    First augmented Aldine edition of BESSARION'S CELEBRATED DEFENCE OF PLATONISM, BOUND WITH THE RARE FIRST EDITION OF FONTANA'S ASTRONOMICAL GEOGRAPHY. Bessarion was the leading proponent of Platonism in the major European Renaissance courts, and his polemic against George Trebizond's anti-Platonic attack enabled the publication of Plato's works. The first part of In calumniatorem Platonis is based on the 1503 edition, while the second part is new. The work focuses on Plato as a mathematician, adducing Archimedes in support of the defence. Fontana's De omnibus rebus naturalibus is dedicated to Charles V, at whose behest, according to the preface, the work was perhaps written. It treats of the four elements, the parts of the world, 'their order, and the sites of those which are not manifest to the eye', and of the celestial bodies and 'the effects of the heavens upon different longitudes and latitudes' (Thorndyke). Bessarion: Adams V-834; Graesse I, 353; Panzer VIII, 434; Renouard 77/6. Fontana: Thorndike, A History of Magical and Experimental Science IV, pp.150-7.

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