EUCLID (fl. ca. 300 B.C.). Elementa geometriae. Translated from the Arabic by Adelard of Bath. Edited by Giovanni Campano. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482.
Super chancery 2o (305 x 211 mm). Collation: a10 b-r8 (a1r blank, a1v Ratdolt's dedication to Giovanni Mocenigo, doge of Venice, a2r text, r7v colophon, r8 blank). 138 leaves. 45 lines and headline. Variant settings conform to GW main entry. Types 3:91G (text), 7:92G (preface and propositions), 7B:100R (headlines, capitals only), 6:56G (diagram lettering). Heading on a2r red-printed, three-quarter white-on-black foliated woodcut border (Redgrave border 3), possibly by Bernhard Maler, 15 ten-line and numerous five-line white-on-black woodcut initials, over 500 marginal woodcut and type-rule diagrams. Modern blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards, by Sangorski and Sutcliffe; cloth slipcase.
Provenance: Cremona, Augustinians, for use of Frater Johannes Gabz and Frater Basilius de Ripa (contemporary inscriptions on dedication page); H.C. Hoskier (Feb. 1903 inscription); Charles Lemuel Nichols (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION of the "oldest mathematical textbook still in common use today" (PMM) and one of the earliest printed books with geometrical figures. The text is the standard late medieval recension of Campanus of Novara (d. 1296), based principally on the twelfth-century translation from the Arabic by Adelard of Bath. Adelard, one of the most important medieval English translators and natural philosophers, left three Latin versions of the Elements, the first a strict translation of the Arabic version, the second and most popular an abbreviated paraphrase of the first version, and the third a commentary. Campanus's version is a free reworking of earlier Latin translations, mainly Adelard's Version II, with additional proofs that make it "the most adequate Arabic-Latin Euclid of all... With an eye to making the Elements as self-contained as possible, he devoted considerable care to the elucidation and discussion of what he felt to be obscure and debatable points" (DSB). Campanus's text was reprinted at least thirteen times in the 15th and 16th centuries. Ratdolt's edition is one of the most beautifully printed of early scientific books. His method of printing diagrams in the margins to illustrate a mathematical text and his finely printed astronomical books became the models for much subsequent scientific publishing. A VERY LARGE AND FRESH COPY.
Goff E-113; BMC V, 285 (IB. 20513); Dibner Heralds 100; GW 9428; Klebs 383.1; Essling 282; Grolier/Horblit 27; PMM 25; Redgrave 26; Sander 2605; Stillwell Science 163; Thomas-Stanford 1a; Norman 729.