COPERNICUS, Nicolaus (1473-1543).
COPERNICUS, Nicolaus (1473-1543).
COPERNICUS, Nicolaus (1473-1543).
2 More
No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium. Science Books from a Private European Collection
COPERNICUS, Nicolaus (1473-1543)

De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. - Georg Johann RHETICUS (1514-1574). De libris revolutionum Nicolai Copernici Narratio prima.Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566.

Details
COPERNICUS, Nicolaus (1473-1543)
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. - Georg Johann RHETICUS (1514-1574). De libris revolutionum Nicolai Copernici Narratio prima.Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1566.
Unrecorded copy of the second edition of the most important scientific publication of the 16th century - a landmark of human thought (PMM) and the first edition to contain Rheticus Narratio prima. De revolutionibus was the first work to propose a comprehensive heliostatic theory of the cosmos in which the sun is the centre of the universe with earth revolving around it, thereby breaking forever with the theological dogma of geocentrism that was the foundation of the special relationship between God and man. The second edition of De revolutionibus reprints the text of the 1543 edition, including Andreas Osiander's unsigned prefatory letter, an attempt to placate eventual critics of the work by emphasizing its purely theoretical aspect. Petri also added a prefatory recommendation by the noted astronomer Erasmus Reinhold (printed at the end of the index), stating that ‘all posterity will gratefully remember the name of Copernicus, by whose labor and study the doctrine of celestial motions was again restored from near collapse...’ (Owen Gingerich's translation, Eye of Heaven, p.221). The errata, listed on a leaf inserted in some copies of the first edition, were not corrected for this edition. In his census of the 1543 and 1566 editions, Owen Gingerich has located 317 copies of the second edition (not including the present copy), making it only slightly less rare than the first.

It is accompanied by Rheticus’ Narratio prima, the first printed exposition of Copernican theory, whose first publication in 1540 preceded De revolutionibus by three years. Rheticus summarises and champions the Copernican heliocentric hypothesis, and it is thanks to his persuasion that Copernicus published De revolutionibus. This is its third appearance in print, following a pirated edition printed at Basel in 1541. Adams C-2603; Cinti 48; Gingerich, An annotated Census of Copernicus' 'De revolutionibus' pp.136-8; Houzeau & Lancaster 2503; Taylor, Mathematical Practitioners, pp.184, 199 and 138; cf. PMM 70 for the first edition.

Folio (270 x 177mm). Woodcut diagrams, printer's device on title, a different device on final verso, woodcut historiated initials (short tear at lower margin of title, some spotting, some browning, heavier in about 5 sheets). 19th-century tree sheep, flat spine gilt, orange lettering label, marbled edges (some scuffing, light wear at spine ends). Provenance: contemporary purchase note in French (40 ?livres) on title – early marginal notes in Latin on astronomy on second leaf (trimmed) – stamp removed from title.
Special notice

No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium.

Brought to you by

Eugenio Donadoni
Eugenio Donadoni Senior Specialist, Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

More from Valuable Books and Manuscripts

View All
View All