REGIOMONTANUS (Johannes MÜLLER, 1436-1476). Calendarium. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 9 August 1482.
Chancery 4o (204 x 149 mm). Collation: [110 2-38 44] verses in praise of the work by Jacobus Sentinus, verses to the reader in praise of Ratdolt by J. L. Santritter, 1/2r tabula regionum, 1/2v table of conjunctions and oppositions, 1/3r calendar, 2/4v table of eclipses 1483-1530, 2/8v text and tables on the golden number, etc.,4 four full-page DIAGRAMS OF INSTRUMENTS printed on one side only). 30 leaves. The leaves of the final quire, usually found pasted back-to-back to form just two leaves, are here separated. 39 lines. Types: 4:76G (lettering on tables), 6:56(75)G (text), 7:92G (verses, headings), 7c:60G (lettering on diagram). Printed in red and black. Woodcut white-vine border on first page, white-vine initials in 2 sizes, four full-page diagrams, the last with original brass pointer. (Small repair at foot of woodcut border, small marginal repair in 2/3, slight tear around pointer attachment in 4/3, volvelles missing from one diagram.) Blue morocco gilt by W. Pratt (joints slightly rubbed).
Provenance: 16th-century annotations mostly washed -- John Bellingham Inglis (1780-1870): London sale, 11 June 1900 (since rebound) -- Charles William Dyson Perrins (1864-1958): booklabels; sale Sotheby's, 18 June 1946, lot 188 (to Quaritch, with collation note).
Third edition of an important scientific work. The first edition was printed and published by Regiomontanus himself at the press he established at his own house in Nuremberg to disseminate scientific literature. Based on calculations published in his Ephemerides and the Calendarium, Regiomontanus is reported to have been called to Rome by the Pope to emend the ecclesiastical calendar. His premature death one year later cut short further work. The commendatory verse by Jacobus Sentinus appears here for the first time. One line gave rise to the fanciful rumour 30 years later that Regiomontanus had been poisoned by the sons of George Trebizond in revenge for Regiomontanus's attack on their father's translation of Ptolemy's Almagest. Although unfounded (Regiomontanus' criticism was never published), the rumour gained currency and was even repeated in Gassendi's biography of the astronomer.
Ratdolt embraced scientific publishing and began his career as a printer at Venice (together with his partners Bernhard Maler and Peter Löslein) with the publication in 1476 of the second edition of the Calendarium. The woodcuts are reduced copies of those designed for the first edition. This is the first issue of the third edition, with uncorrected incipit (cf. BMC).
HC 13777*; BMC V, 286 (IA. 20519); Essling 250; Harvard/Walsh 1810; Klebs 836.3; Redgrave 29; Goff R-94.