Textus de Sphaera … cum additione (quantum necessarium est) adiecta: Novo commentario nuper editio ad utilitatem studentium philosophice Parisiensis. Academie illustratus com Compositione Annuli Astronomici Boni Latensis. Et Geometria Euclidis Megarensis. Johannes de / LEFÈVRE D’ÉTAPLES SACROBOSCO, Jacques / BONETUS DE LATIS / EUCLID.
Textus de Sphaera … cum additione (quantum necessarium est) adiecta: Novo commentario nuper editio ad utilitatem studentium philosophice Parisiensis. Academie illustratus com Compositione Annuli Astronomici Boni Latensis. Et Geometria Euclidis Megarensis.
Textus de Sphaera … cum additione (quantum necessarium est) adiecta: Novo commentario nuper editio ad utilitatem studentium philosophice Parisiensis. Academie illustratus com Compositione Annuli Astronomici Boni Latensis. Et Geometria Euclidis Megarensis.
Textus de Sphaera … cum additione (quantum necessarium est) adiecta: Novo commentario nuper editio ad utilitatem studentium philosophice Parisiensis. Academie illustratus com Compositione Annuli Astronomici Boni Latensis. Et Geometria Euclidis Megarensis.
Astronomical Textbook For The University Of Paris
An Early Volume From The Press Of Henri Estienne
With 24 Woodcuts
Colophon: Paris, Henri Estienne, 15.11.

Textus de Sphaera … cum additione (quantum necessarium est) adiecta: Novo commentario nuper editio ad utilitatem studentium philosophice Parisiensis. Academie illustratus com Compositione Annuli Astronomici Boni Latensis. Et Geometria Euclidis Megarensis.

4to [26.9 x 19.5 cm], (32) ff., with 24 woodcut diagrams and 21 tables in text. Title inscribed with initials ML and BB(?). Bound in later speckled paper over boards, old vellum spine. Some scattered staining, otherwise quite fresh.

Rare 1511 second Estienne edition (first 1507) of Johannes de Sacrobosco’s (1195-1256) Textus de Sphaera, “the most used textbook in astronomy and cosmography from the thirteenth century to the seventeenth century” (Thorndike, p. 1). Printed expressly for the use of students at the University of Paris, Estienne’s Sphaera is illustrated with numerous fine woodcuts and supplemented with a commentary by Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples (c. 1455-1536), the “leader of the humanist movement in France” (Schreiber, pp. 9-10), and with a related treatise by the contemporary Jewish scholar Bonetus de Latis (fl. 1490s-1510s), as well as geometrical extracts from the first four books of Euclid’s Elements. The volume both represents an early title from the renowned press of Henri Estienne, “the founder of the greatest dynasty of scholar-printers of all times” (Schreiber, 9), and is a valuable witness to the specialist printing trade servicing one of the most important universities of early modern Europe: “Henry Estienne’s printing and publishing, of the period 1502-1520, reached an average of seven books a year, which was modest even for those days … What he produced none the less gave him a prominent place in the University book trade, for the importance of the works published and for the quality of the printing” (Armstrong, p. 7).

Remaining the definitive work on astronomy from its composition in 1220 throughout the Renaissance, Sacrobosco’s Sphere provided the base for numerous astronomical commentaries which grew in sophistication well into the 16th century. The work addresses the shape and place of the Earth within a spherical universe, deals with various celestial circles, discusses the rising and setting of heavenly bodies from different geographical locations, and provides a brief introduction to Ptolemy’s theory of the planets and of eclipses. Brevity and precision were the chief characteristics of the compendium, traits which allowed university lecturers to expound on and amplify Sacrobosco’s material.

Among the handsome woodcuts of the present Estienne edition is an image Urania, Astronomia, and Ptolemy beneath an armillary sphere (fol. a3 verso). Mortimer explains that the composition combines elements from two cuts that occur in the 1488 and 1490 Venetian editions: one depicting the three figures, and a separate image of the armillary sphere held by a hand emerging from clouds. This large cut and the diagrams for the Estienne editions are derived from those designed for Wolfgang Hopyl’s Paris edition of 1494.

Producing the work expressly as a teaching text for the University of Paris – under whose aegis there was an active revival of the classical and medieval sciences at the time (the university’s arms appear on the title-page) – Estienne includes supporting texts on instrumentation and mathematical fundamentals in the Liber anuli astronomici by Bonetus de Latis and extracts from Euclid (in a Latin translation spuriously ascribed to Boethius). The Bonetus treatise is notable for the author concluding his text with verses imploring the reader not judge him harshly for his unrefined Latin, as he is a Jew more fluent his native Hebrew.

* Adams R-715 (1507 ed., identical collation); Houzeau & Lancaster 1646; see Mortimer 474 (3rd Estienne ed. 1516); F. Schreiber, The Estiennes: An Annotated Catalogue of 300 Highlights of their Various Presses; E. Armstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer: An Historical Study of the Elder Stephanus.

Price: $6,850.00