HARRIOT, Thomas (ca. 1560-1621). Artis analyticae praxis, ad aequationes algebracas... resolvendas: tractatus. Edited by Walter Warner. London: Robert Barker and heirs of John Bill, 1631.
2o (317 x 217 mm). Collation: A2 B-Z2 Aa-Zz2 Aaa-Bbb2. 96 leaves (A1 and Bbb2 blank). Woodcut head-pieces and initials. (Occasional slight discoloration.) Contemporary calf, covers panelled in gilt and blind, gilt fleurons at corners of inner gilt panel, smooth spine, remains of two pairs of silk ties, edges red-sprinkled (somewhat stained and rubbed, gilt spine decoration worn away, a few small holes and cracks to joints). Provenance: John Hope (inscription in Latin dated Tyringham, 9 December 1672, stating that he owns other books of this type); Marquess of Linlithgow, Hopetoun (armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. Other than his 1588 Briefe Report on Virginia, where he had been sent by Sir Walter Raleigh as a surveyor and general scientist accompanying Sir Richard Grenville's 1585 expedition, Harriot published nothing in his lifetime, being plagued by severe ill health in his last years. He left behind, however, more than 10,000 folio pages of scientific manuscripts in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, optics, and physics. Published 10 years after his death, this treatise contains his path-breaking inventions in the field of algebra. Expanding upon and systematizing the work of Vieta, Harriot set the standard for future algebraic textbooks by introducing a new system of notation, including the symbols < and >, and provided a comprehensive theory of equations that anticipated Descartes. Sabin 30376; STC 12784; Norman 991.