Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Augustinus de Angelis [Angelus]. Lectiones Meteorlogicae. Ed. tertia Cum Appendice Ad Cometam visam Mense Decembri Die 21 Anni MDCLII. [1652.] Rome: Fabii de Falchis for Joseph Corbi, 1664 [1663 in colophon]. Krown & Spellman retail: $1250. 8vo. a8, A-2A8, 2B4. [16], 363, [1], [28]p. Limp vellum, wrinkled & soiled, lower edge gnawed, worming in rear cover, dampstains, gatherings over-opened and starting to separate, light browning and foxing. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    More Information:

    "The reverend Father Augustin de Angelis, (1606-1681) rector of the Clementine College at Rome, as late as 1673, after the new cometary theory had been placed beyond reasonable doubt, and even while Newton was working out its final demonstration, published a third edition [this edition] of his Lectures on Meteorology. It was dedicated to the Cardinal of Hesse, and bore the express sanction of the Master of the Sacred Palace at Rome and of the head of the religious order to which De Angelis belonged. This work deserves careful analysis, not only as representing the highest and most approved university teaching of the time at the centre of Roman Catholic Christendom, but still more because it represents that attempt to make a compromise between theology and science, or rather the attempt to confiscate science to the uses of theology, which we so constantly find whenever the triumph of science in any field has become inevitable.

    As to the scientific element in this compromise, De Angelis holds, in his general introduction regarding meteorology, that the main material cause of comets is ``exhalation,'' and says, ``If this exhalation is thick and sticky, it blazes into a comet.'' And again he returns to the same view, saying that ``one form of exhalation is dense, hence easily inflammable and long retentive of fire, from which sort are especially generated comets.'' But it is in his third lecture that he takes up comets specially, and his discussion of them is extended through the fourth, fifth, and sixth lectures. Having given in detail the opinions of various theologians and philosophers, he declares his own in the form of two conclusions. The first of these is that ``comets are not heavenly bodies, but originate in the earth's atmosphere below the moon; for everything heavenly is eternal and incorruptible, but comets have a beginning and ending - ergo, comets can not be heavenly bodies.'' This, we may observe, is levelled at the observations and reasonings of Tycho Brahe and Kepler, and is a very good illustration of the scholastic and mediaeval method - the method which blots out an ascertained fact by means of a metaphysical formula. His second conclusion is that ``comets are of elemental and sublunary nature; for they are an exhalation hot and dry, fatty and well condensed, inflammable and kindled in the uppermost regions of the air.'' He then goes on to answer sundry objections to this mixture of metaphysics and science, and among other things declares that ``the fatty, sticky material of a comet may be kindled from sparks falling from fiery heavenly bodies or from a thunderholt''; and, again, that the thick, fatty, sticky quality of the comet holds its tail in shape, and that, so far are comets from having their paths beyond the, moon's orbit, as Tycho Brahe and Kepler thought, he himself in 1618 saw ``a bearded comet so near the summit of Vesuvius that it almost seemed to touch it.'' As to sorts and qualities of comets, he accepts Aristotle's view, and divides them into bearded and tailed. He goes on into long disquisitions upon their colours, forms, and motions. Under this latter head he again plunges deep into a sea of metaphysical considerations, and does not reappear until he brings up his compromise in the opinion that their movement is as yet uncertain and not understood, but that, if we must account definitely for it, we must say that it is effected by angels especially assigned to this service by Divine Providence. But, while proposing this compromise between science and theology as to the origin and movement of comets, he will hear to none as regards their mission as ``signs and wonders'' and presages of evil. He draws up a careful table of these evils, arranging them in the following order. Drought, wind, earthquake, tempest, famine, pestilence, war, and, to clinch the matter, declares that the comet observed by him in 1618 brought not only war, famine, pestilence, and earthquake, but also a general volcanic eruption, ``which would have destroyed Naples, had not the blood of the invincible martyr Januarius withstood it.''

    It will be observed, even from this sketch, that, while the learned Father Augustin thus comes infallibly to the mediaeval conclusion, he does so very largely by scientific and essentially modern processes, giving unwonted prominence to observation, and at times twisting scientific observation into the strand with his metaphysics. The observations and methods of his science are sometimes shrewd, sometimes comical. Good examples of the latter sort are such as his observing that the comet stood very near the summit of Vesuvius, and his reasoning that its tail was kept in place by its stickiness. But observations and reasonings of this sort are always the first homage paid by theology to science as the end of their struggle approaches. "

    [Andrew D. White, History of the Warfare of Science With Theology.] BL 17th Ital. 37. RLIN NYCXV4969104-B (Cornell only). Not in Houzeau/Lancaster.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    23rd Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 165

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 27 Domain Names Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $614,788