KEPLER, Johannes (1571-1630). Tabulae Rudolphinae, quibus astronomicae scientiae, temporum longinquitate collapsae restauratio continentur. Ulm: Jonas Saur, 1627.
2 parts in one volume, 4° (330 x 218mm). Engraved allegorical frontispiece of the Temple of Urania by George Celer after Kepler, a few woodcut diagrams, including a full-page of diagrams on k3v, woodcut initials. (Worm-tracks in the bottom margin of first few gatherings, scattered spots, occasional browning, shoulder notes of k3v shaved.) Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin with near contemporary white-washing on the spine, sides centred with a tool of Samuel anointing David, straps and clasps, edges red (vellum yellowed, corners rubbed, upper side scuffed, lacking catches, front blank with some wear from the clasps). Provenance: Society of Jesus, Prague (title inscription dated 1640) -- Gymnasium in Most, Czech Republic (title stamp and 19th-century stamps when this became the Stadtsgymnasium in Brüx, and cancelled shelf-mark).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. 'THE CHIEF VEHICLE FOR THE RECOGNITION OF HIS ASTRONOMICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS' (DSB). A handsome copy in contemporary binding with early provenance, and with the first state of both the dedication and of the 'Idyllion'; this first issue was published without the supplement or map produced after 1630 which appear in later issues. On his deathbed in 1601, Tycho Brahe urged Kepler to complete his long-projected astronomical tables, to be based on Tycho's mass of observations and named after their patron Rudolph II. Kepler worked on these for years, with frequent interruptions. 'In excusing the long delay in publication [Kepler] mentioned in the preface not only the difficulties of obtaining his salary and of the wartime conditions but also "the novelty of my discoveries and the unexpected transfer of the whole of astronomy from fictitious circles to natural causes, which were most profound to investigate, difficult to explain, and difficult to calculate, since mine was the first attempt"' (DSB). The greatly improved accuracy of Kepler's tables over previous planetary tables was due in part to his discovery of the laws of planetary motion, but also to the 'happy calamity', as he put it, of his initiation into Napier's logarithms. Kepler created his own logarithmic tables (published in 1624), and used them for the complex calculations required to determine planetary orbits. The superiority of his tables 'constituted a strong endorsement of the Copernican system, and insured the tables' dominance in the field of astronomy throughout he seventeenth century' (Norman). Caspar 79; Houzeau & Lancaster 12754; Norman 1208; Shirley 335; Zinner 5063.