Woodcut printer’s device on title, numerous woodcut illus. in the text, & a woodcut vignette on verso of final leaf. Title printed in red & black. 4 p.l., 296 pp. Folio, cont. vellum over boards (first four leaves with some light browning & staining). Palermo: C. Hesperi, 1685.
First edition of Maurolico’s important edition of Archimedes’ works, based upon an earlier partial edition by Borelli (Messina: 1670-72), which was almost completely lost.
Maurolico’s edition was largely prepared in 1534 and 1547-50 and remained in manuscript for many years after his death. Maurolico’s “method of redaction is suggested in the preface. After enumerating and summarising Archimedes’ works, Maurolico states that he has tried to make the works more easily intelligible by adding many lemmas, by demonstrating many things omitted by Archimedes, and by treating of the centres of gravity of solids…Maurolico does not hesitate to re-arrange Archimedes’ master work, the De Sphaera et Cylindro, often substituting what he claims to be a better proof or enunciation for that of the original…It is, however, in the De Aequeponderantibus that Maurolico makes his most drastic re-arrangement of the Archimedean material and also his most important contributions to mathematics…
“Maurolico organises the treatise (which he calls De Momentis Aequalibus) and his own additions into four books. The first deals with general principles relating to centres of gravity and equilibrium. The following three books concern the determination of centres of gravity in plane figures; paraboloids; and spheres, pyramids, prisms, conoids and other solids.
Although Archimedes had apparently known how to find the centres of gravity in various solids, none of his proofs was extant in the sixteenth century. Maurolico sought to remedy this deficiency by applying the Archimedean method of moments to the problem. This he did with considerable success… “Although the long delay in publishing the Maurolico Archimedes precluded its entry to the mainstream of mathematical development, the importance of its author’s studies was acknowledged by Federico Commandino.”–Rose, The Italian Renaissance of Mathematics, p. 167.
A very good and crisp copy. Preserved in a box.
❧ Riccardi, I, 43-44–(with a list of the contents).
Item ID: 5102