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    Sale 7471

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    14 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 104

    GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Systema cosmicum ... in quo quatuor dialogis, de duobus maximis mundi systematibus, Ptolemaico et Copernicano, translated from Italian by Matthias Bernegger (1582-1640). Strassburg: D. Hauttius for the Elzevirs (at Leiden]), 1635.

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    GALILEI, Galileo (1564-1642). Systema cosmicum ... in quo quatuor dialogis, de duobus maximis mundi systematibus, Ptolemaico et Copernicano, translated from Italian by Matthias Bernegger (1582-1640). Strassburg: D. Hauttius for the Elzevirs (at Leiden]), 1635.

    4° (196 x 138mm). Engraved frontispiece, full-page engraved portrait by Jacob van der Heyden, woodcut diagrams. Final leaf of errata. (Text heavily browned, portrait slightly cropped at outer margin, Iii3-Lll1 wormed at lower margin.) Contemporary calf, triple fillet borders (rebacked, new endpapers). Provenance: John Jackson of Academy Place, Warrington (1793-1875, his and Warrington Library bookplates).

    FIRST LATIN EDITION OF THE DIALOGO, the summation of Galileo's astronomical work and his celebrated advancement of the Copernican system in the form of an irrefutable hypothesis. The inconclusive debate which Pope Urban VIII had expected was hardly evident in the sure reasoning of Salviati, the pointed questioning of Sagredo, and the feeble responses of Simplicio, a figure sometimes equated with the Pope himself. While the hypothetical nature of the argument should not be forgotten, Galileo's book 'revels in the simplicity of Copernican thought and, above all, it teaches that the movement of the earth makes sense in philosophy, that is, in physics ... The Dialogo, more than any other work, made the heliocentric system a comonplace' (PMM). Although the Italian first edition (Florence, 1632) was banned by the Pope and withdrawn from circulation shortly after publication, leading to the author's trial and imprisonment a year later, it is actually less rare than this second edition, published far from Rome. The history professor, Matthias Bernegger, a mathematics enthusiast, was asked by Galileo to undertake the translation, printed by the young Strassburg printer David Hautt, but funded by the powerful Elzevier printing house. In the preface, Bernegger explains how he learned Italian in order to translate it, dictating his version to a scribe and working with such speed that the text was passed onto the printer with the ink still wet. The translation itself included two important appendices by Kepler and Foscarini concerning the debate over the compatability of the theory of the earth's movement with Scripture. The portrait of Galileo is new to this edition; the frontispiece, showing the three speakers, is copied from the original. Carli and Favaro 148; Cinti 96; Riccardi I, 512; Willems 426; not in Norman.


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