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EUCLIDES (fl. c.300 B.C.). Elementa geometriae. Translated from Greek or Arabic into Latin by Adelard of Bath. Edited by Johannes Campanus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482.
EUCLIDES (fl. c.300 B.C.). Elementa geometriae. Translated from Greek or Arabic into Latin by Adelard of Bath. Edited by Johannes Campanus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482.
EUCLIDES (fl. c.300 B.C.). Elementa geometriae. Translated from Greek or Arabic into Latin by Adelard of Bath. Edited by Johannes Campanus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482.
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EUCLIDES (fl. c.300 B.C.). Elementa geometriae. Translated from Greek or Arabic into Latin by Adelard of Bath. Edited by Johannes Campanus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482.

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EUCLIDES (fl. c.300 B.C.). Elementa geometriae. Translated from Greek or Arabic into Latin by Adelard of Bath. Edited by Johannes Campanus. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May 1482.

A tall, fresh copy of the first edition of a work which has 'exercised an influence upon the human mind greater than that of any other work except the Bible' (DSB 4, p.415). A brilliant compilation and refinement of earlier mathematical knowledge, the Elements remained a standard textbook for more than two millennia. One of the most famous geometric proofs – 'Pythagoras's theorem' – is in fact due to Euclid, and it is stated as proposition 47 in Book I. The 'decisive influence of Euclid's geometrical conception of mathematics is reflected in two of the supreme works in the history of thought, Newton's Principia and Kant's Kritik der reinen Vernunft' (DSB p.425). Books I-XIII are accepted as genuine, while book XIV is considered the work of Hypsicles and book XV by Isidorus Milesius.

From the Renaissance library of Johann Kentmann and his son Theophilus. Father and son were medical doctors and naturalists. Johann trained at Leipzig, Wittenberg and Bologna, and practiced medicine at Dresden and Torgau. He compiled a herbal in 1563 under the patronage of Count August of Saxony and amassed a significant collection of minerals, the catalogue of which was published by Conrad Gessner in 1565. Theophilus Kentmann followed his father’s interests and published works on botany and gynaecology.

The Elementa is not only 'one of the great classics in the history of science [but also] a masterpiece of early typographical ability and ingenuity' (Bühler, p.102). It is the first dated book with diagrams (Stillwell). Variants occur in the first quire; the present copy agrees with the main entry in GW. Furthermore, the present copy has the corrected version of the last line of o8r (Curt Bühler, 'A typographical error in the editio princeps of Euclid', Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 1966, pp.102-104). The Glasgow Incunabula Project notes discrepancies in the marginal diagrams; the present copy has two diagrams each on d1r,v and 3 diagrams on e1r. HC *6693; BMC V, 285; Flodr 170 Eucl.1; GW 9428; Bod-inc. E-036; BSB-Ink. E-106; Klebs 383.1; Norman 729; Redgrave 26; Sander 2605; PMM 25; Goff E-113.

Chancery folio (307 x 216mm). 138 leaves, with final blank. Heading on a2r printed in red, woodcut three-quarter vine-work border opening text (Redgrave border 3, perhaps by Bernhard Maler), woodcut white-on-black initials, numerous text diagrams. (Minor worming in first and last quire, a few wormholes throughout.) Contemporary German pigskin over wooden boards, sides diapered with rosette tool at intersections and centre of lozenges, two fore-edge clasps, title written across fore-edges, spine liner of vellum document in German (rubbed and scuffed, minor loss at spine foot and board edges, small wormholes, faint dampstain at a few extreme upper margins.) Provenance: a few contemporary annotations, evidence of a spherical diagram removed from front pastedown – Johann Kentmann, (1518-1574, physician and naturalist; title inscription) – Theophilus Kentmann, (1552-1610, physician and naturalist; title inscription, drawing of a leaf with motto ‘miscenti tristia laetis’, date 15 August 1582).
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