FIRMICUS MATERNUS, Julius (fl. 330-354). De nativitatibus. Edited by Franciscus Niger. - Marcus MANILIUS. Astronomicon. - ARATUS. Phaenomena, in Greek and Latin. - THEON. Commentaria in Aratum, in Greek. - PROCLUS Diadochus. Sphaera, in Greek, and with Latin translation by Thomas Linacre. Venice: Aldus Manutius, June and  October 1499.
Super-chancery 2° (315 x 213mm). Collation: *6 a-g10 h12 aa-hh10 ii-kk8 A-D10 E12 F6 G-M10 N6 \kN-S\K10 T8 (*1r title, *1v Aldus's dedication to Guido Pheretrio, Duke of Urbino, *2r Niger's dedication to Cardinal Hyppolyto d'Este, *4r index to Firmicus, a1r text, aa1r Liber Quintus, kk8v blank, A1r Manilius, E7 blank, E8r Liber Quintus, G1r Arati Vita, G1v Fragmentum Arati, K3v Fragmentum Cicerone interprete, K10 blank, L1r Arati Phaenomena paraphraste, N6v blank, \kN\K1r title Arati Solensis Phaenomena, \kN\K1v text in Greek, S7v Proclus Sphaera in Greek, T1r title to Linacre's translation, T1v Aldus's letter to Alberto Pio and William Grocyn's letter to Aldus, T2v preface to Linacre, T3r text, T7r register, T8r colophon, T8v blank). 376 leaves. 38 lines and headline, 40 lines of Greek surrounding the text. Type: 2:114R; 2**:115R; 7:114Gr. 2- to 10-line initial spaces with guide-letters. Woodcut diagrams in Firmicus, 39 astrological woodcuts in the Latin Aratus. (Small marginal wormhole in final 2 quires.) Blue straight-grained morocco over pasteboard, tooled in gilt and blind, spine with double raised bands and decorated in compartments, gilt turn-ins, olive pastedowns with roll-tooled border, vellum flyleaves, gilt edges, pink silk ribbon marker, by François Bozerian (Bozerian jeune), signed at foot of spine.
A LARGE, VERY FINE COPY. Second edition of Firmicus Maternus's De nativitatibus, also known as the Mathesis. It represents popular traditions and sets out practical astrological method, citing Hermes, Orpheus, Abraham and Aesculapius as sources. Firmicus's work 'ranks as the most comprehensive textbook of astrology of ancient times' (Stillwell, Awakening, I:56), comprising a defense of astrology, the effects of the planets, the moon, the signs, and horoscopes. Book VII 'is marked by undue attention to sexual and moral deviates' (DSB IV, 622). The Aldine edition follows by 2 years Bevilaqua's edition of 1497, but work on the text was clearly well underway before Bevilaqua's edition emerged on the market; Niger's dedication to Hyppolyto d'Este is dated the same year, 1497. The De nativitatibus is joined here by Manilius' astronomical poem, and by the FIRST EDITION IN GREEK of Aratus' Phaenomena and of Proclus' Sphaera. The woodcuts derive from Ratdolt's 1482 edition of Hyginus. H *14559; GW 9981; BMC V, 560 (IB. 24483-86); Goff F-191; Renouard 20:3; Ahmanson-Murphy 27; IGI 3975; Flodr, Firmicus 2.