27 - 28 June 2006
ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.). Problemata. Trans. by Theodorus Gaza (ca 1400-1475). Mantua: Johannes Vurster and Johannes Baumeister, [ca 1473].
2o (287 x 201 mm). Collation: [110 2 38 410 58 610 7 88 9 1010; 116.] 96 leaves, the first blank, tables [signature 11] bound at front. 39 lines. Roman type 1:98. Capital strokes and paragraph marks in table supplied in red and blue. Modern boards covered with 15th century manuscript leaves, the front including the Commemorations on the Feast of the Holy Family Malachias 3:1 opening with illuminated initial E, the back cover with text from Mark 14 (covers slightly bowed). Provenance: Tobias Faber, possibly the Lutheran minister who flourished 1580, author of Theses medicae, de praecipuis aliquot capitibus, theoricis et practices, Basel, 1580 (contemporary signature on first leaf of table, his? manuscript headlines and marginalia); purchased from Emil Offenbacher, n.d.
FIRST EDITION OF ARISTOTLE'S 'PROBLEMATA'. The Problemata are a collection of scientific dissertations in the form of questions and answers ascribed to Aristotle in 20 chapters. Theodorus Gaza, this text's translator, was born at Thessalonica. On the capture of his native city by the Turks in 1430 he fled to Italy. During a three-year residence in Mantua he studied under Vittorino da Feltre and became proficient in Latin. He supported himself by giving lessons in Greek, and by copying manuscripts of the ancient classics. In 1447 he became professor of Greek in the newly founded university of Ferrara, and his presence there and fame helped attract students from all parts of Italy. His translations into Latin were numerous and include the Historia plantarum of Theophrastus and the homilies of John Chrysostom.
Victor Scholderer notes that this undated Aristotle may or may not have preceded Vurster's first edition of Petrus de Albano's Conciliator differentiarum philosophorum et medicorum which is dated 1472. It cannot be earlier that 1472, as that was the year in which the Bolognese archetype of Vurster's small roman was introduced (BMC VII, p. xlvi).
VERY RARE: ISTC locates only three copies in the United States (Harvard, Library of Congress, Pierpont Morgan) and one incomplete copy in Canada (Osler copy, at McGill). BMC VII 929; CIBN A-543; Delisle 154; Goff A1030; GW 2452; HCR 1729; IBE 566; IBP 525; IGI 846; Klebs 95.1; Madsen 331; Osler(IM) 42; Pell 1217; Pr 6886; Sajó-Soltész 307; Walsh 3335.
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