17 June 2008
TARTAGLIA, Niccoló (ca 1499-1557). Nova scientia inventa. Venice: Stefano dei Nicolini da Sabbio for the author, 1537.
4o (195 x 155 mm). Collation: *4 A-L4. 48 leaves, unfoliated. Full-page allegorical woodcut on title, printer's woodcut device at end, numerous woodcut illustrations and diagrams in text. (Some very minor marginal soiling.) Later vellum. Provenance: Early signature scrawled out at end of text, contemporary purchase inscriptions on L3v and L4v; Haskell F. Norman (bookplate, his sale Christie's New York, 18 March 1998, lot 201).
FIRST EDITION of Tartaglia's first printed work, devoted to ballistics, surveying, engineering and fortification. "Gunnery and surveying were among the earliest of the practical arts to benefit from the application of mathematics... Tartaglia skillfully treated this problem in dynamics and proved that the trajectory of a missile fired from a cannon would not be a straight line, as was then supposed" (Dibner). This contradicted the "impetus" theory derived from Aristotle's Physics, which stated that a projectile's trajectory was described by two straight lines united by a curved line. He also determined maximum range to be at the gun's elevation of 45o. Adams T-189 (with a folding diagram which does not belong to the edition; it was published later and added to some copies); BM/STC Italian p. 658; Dibner Heralds of Science 102; Norman 2053; PMM 66.
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