Description

    The Rare English Edition of Euclid from 1651, with John Dee's Highly Important Preface

    [Euclid]. Euclides Elements of Geometry: the first VI Books: In a compendious form contracted and Demonstrated. By Captain Thomas Rudd, Chiefe Engineer to his late Majesty. Whereunto is added, The Mathematicall Preface of Mr. John Dee. London: Printed by Robert and William Leybourn for Richard Tomlins and Robert Boydell, 1651. First Rudd edition (with "at" at the end of the third line of the imprint on the title-page). [126], 259, [1, blank] pages. Lacking first blank, as is quite common with this title. Title page printed in red and black. Near contemporary full speckled calf, covers double-ruled in black, smooth spine ruled double-ruled in black, with yellow morocco gilt lettering label. Spine headcap worn away, some moderate wear and soiling to boards, hinges just barely starting (yet still solid), title written in ink on fore-edge in a neat contemporary hand, bookplate of The Right Hon. Thomas Earl of Hadington (presumably the 6th to bear that title) on the verso of the title page, with his neat signature on the title page, title page a bit wrinkled due to the affixed bookplate. Still, a near fine copy.

    Dee's preface on the relations and applications of mathematics "established his fame among mathematical practitioners" (DSB). It is reprinted from the 1570 first complete edition in English of the Elements. John Dee himself (1527-1608) was a consultant to Elizabeth I, a friend and colleague of Tycho Brahe, and built the greatest library in England at that time.

    "Euclid's 'Elements of Geometry' is the oldest mathematical textbook in the world still in common use today. Its author was a Greek mathematician living about 300 B.C. who founded a mathematical school in Alexandria in the reign of Ptolemy I. The 'Elements' is a compilation of all earlier Greek mathematical knowledge since Pythagoras, organized into a consistent system so that each theorem follows logically from its predecessor; and in this simplicity lies the secret of its success. Of the thirteen books into which it is divided, nos. 1 to 4 are on plane geometry; 5 and 6 on the theory of proportion due to Eudoxus and its application; 7 to 9 on the properties of numbers; 10 on irrational quantities; 11 to 13 on solid geometry culminating in the proof that there are only five regular solids; books 14 and 15 were added later but are not by Euclid...The 'Elements' remained the common school textbook of geometry for hundreds of years and about one thousand editions and translations have been published" (Printing and the Mind of Man 25, citing the 1482 first edition). From the James and Deborah Boyd Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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