2 volumes, large 4to. Vol. I: , 48 p.; 48 p.; , 160 p.; , 68 p.; 127 p.; , 264 p.; 43 p., including allegorical frontispiece signed Stefano della Bella, Villamoena portrait of Galileo, and folding engraved plate of military compass. Vol. II: , 41,  p.,  f., 43-60 p.; , 104, , 105-156 p.; 48 p.; , 179,  p.; -106 p.; -126 p.; , 238 (i.e. 242),  p. Numerous woodcut initials and astronomical and mathematical diagrams. Vol. II includes a cancelled leaf, paginated 99-100 and with text from the “Macchie solari” on recto and the beginning of the “Risposta del Sig. Alfonso Antonini di Udine” on verso, inserted between the Castelli and Grienberger letters on the 1618 comet, and with a large section of the lower left corner cleanly cut out, probably intentionally. Bound in contemporary vellum, title written in ink on spine and on lower edges; usual mild discoloration and light foxing on scattered leaves; several quires browned as usual. Generally a fine, wide-margined and fresh copy.
First collected edition of Galileo’s works, appearing only a year after his death and of great interest for his 17th-century reception. This was the edition in which Newton and later eminent scientists read their Galileo. Included here are not only most of the seminal pieces written and published over a lifetime, but additional publications and letters by both supporters and antagonists. Together in one work they offer a veritable panorama of scientific activity in Italy during the first half of the seventeenth century, and are critical for the history of the formation of Galileo’s text.
The Opere contains many unpublished or little-known items provided to the editors by Vincenzo Viviani, Galileo’s friend and disciple. Among them are a number of Galileo’s hitherto unpublished letters and experiments and the La Bilancetta, his first scientific work, written in 1586. Both the Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (“Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”) and the letter to Christina di Lorena were on the Index of Prohibited Books when the Opere was published, so they are not included. A contemporary hand noted on the final flyleaf of Vol. 2, “La lettura de discorsi legati insieme è interdetta” (“The reading of the discourses bound together is forbidden.”).
Volume I includes a dedication, other preliminary material, and Galileo's first publication, Le operationi del compasso geometrico e militare (“The Mathematical and Geometrical Compass”), issued in 1606, and related works (, 48 p.; 48 p.; , 160 p.); Discorso ... intorno alle cose, che stanno sù l’acqua, ò che in quella si muovono (“The Discourse on Floating Bodies”), first published in 1612, and related works (, 68 p.; 127 p.; , 264 p.); and Della scienza mecanica (“On the Science of Mechanics and its Uses”), based on lectures on statics and simple machines delivered in Padua in the 1590s, and La Bilancetta (43 p.).
Volume II includes the Sidereus Nuncius (“The Starry Messenger”), originally published in 1610, in which Galileo describes his astronomical discoveries using a telescope (, 41,  p.,  f., 43-60 p.); the three letters on sunspots from 1613 (, 104, , 105-156 p.); texts related to the comet of 1618 (48 p. and -106, -126 p.); Il Saggiatore (“The Assayer”), Galileo’s “scientific manifesto” from 1623 (, 179,  p.); and his last work, Discorsi e dimonstrationi matematiche (“Mathematical Discourses on the Two New Sciences”), first issued in 1638 (, 238 (i.e. 242),  p.).
* Cinti 132; Riccardi I.518-19.