4to. [29.7 x 19.7 cm], (2) ff., 202 pp., (1) f. Bound in 18th C mottled calf, some rubbing, with title gilt on spine. Ex libris of Alexander Henry Davis on front pastedown. Title soiled, cancel on p. 9, corner of 1 leaf torn, trace of former library stamp on f.R2, pp.155-58 misbound. Light toning on scattered leaves, but overall a bright copy, very good.
First edition of an Archimedean work by Galileo’s friend and early patron Guidobaldo del Monte. Guidobaldo’s Liber mechanicorum (1577), regarded as the greatest work on statics since the Greeks, employed the mathematically rigorous proofs of Archimedean models in investigating static and mechanical questions; the present work develops many of those ideas in a paraphrase of Archimedes’ “On the Equilibrium of Planes,” which applied geometry to hydrostatics and proved the law of the lever using pure geometry. These works had a profound and lasting impact on the methodology adopted by 16th C Italian scientists, most notably Galileo: “Guidobaldo was Galileo’s patron and friend and was possibly the greatest single influence on the mechanics of Galileo” (DSB).
In addition to his patronage, Guidobaldo also supported Galileo’s bid for Chair of Mathematics at the University of Padua in 1592. Galileo himself, who was sent a copy of the present work, adopted Guidobaldo’s analysis of the lever.
Guidobaldo del Monte (1545-1607, born to a wealthy family from Urbino, was a soldier, military engineer, astronomer and mathematician. In addition to writing works of applied geometry and physics, he also wrote on perspective, and he developed mathematical instruments including the proportional and elliptical compass.
* Riccardi II.179; DSB IX.487-489; Bibliotheca Chemico-Mathematica, 12033.