THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
BORELLI, Giovanni Alfonso (1608-1679). De motu animalium. Rome: Angelo Bernabo, 1680-81.
2 volumes, 4o (212 x 151 mm). 18 folding engraved plates. (Moderate browning to approximately 12 signatures, small stain in lower margin of volume three to signatures G-Dd, some occasional spotting.) Contemporary speckled calf, spines gilt, red morocco lettering pieces (volume 1 rebacked preserving original spine, volume 2 with small repair at foot of spine, some wear to covers). Provenance: contemporary note in Italian relating the manner of Borelli's death tipped to front pastedown.
RARE FIRST EDITION OF BORELLI'S CLASSIC WORK IN THEORETICAL ZOOLOGY. Trained as a mathematician and physicist, Borelli was one of the founders of biomechanics, in which the body was conceived of as a machine whose movements and phenomena could be explained by the laws of physics. In this important treatise Borelli presents the application of mechanics to the motion of the limbs of animals based largely on Galileo's mechanics. The first portion of this work deals primarily with external motions, produced by the interaction of bones and muscle.
The second volume is devoted to internal motions, including circulation, respiration, secretion and nervous activity. "Borelli originated the neurogenic theory of the heart's action and first suggested that the circulation resembled a simple hydraulic system. He was the first to insist that the heart beat was a simple muscular contraction" (Garrison-Morton).
Cushing B499; Dibner Heralds of Science 190; Garrison-Morton 762; Grolier/Horblit 13; Heirs of Hippocrates 315; McGill/Wood 249; Nissen ZBI 465; NLM/Krivatsy 1578; Norman 270; Osler 2087. (2)