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CLAVIUS, ‘THE EUCLID OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY’. FIRST EDITION.

EUCLID. CLAVIUS, Christoph (1538–1612)

Euclidis elementorum libri XV . Accessit XVI. de solidorum regularium comparatione. Omnes perspicuis demonstrationibus, accuratisque; scholiis illustrati. Auctore Christophoro Clavio Bambergensi. Societatis Iesu. Romae, apud Vincentium Accoltum. [Colophon:] Romae, Apud Vincentium Accoltum. M.D. LXXIIII. Cum licentia Superiorum

Rome: Vincenzo Accolti, 1574
8vo: volume I: a–e8 A–2S8 2T4 (blank 2T4), 372 leaves, ff. [40] 331 [1] (last leaf blank); volume II: A–2O8 2P4, 300 leaves, ff. 300. Roman and Italic letter. Woodcut architectural border on each titlepage, printer’s device above colophon on vol. II, 2P4, verso blank, woodcut initials, typographic ornaments, woodcut diagrams in the text.
Condition: 170 x 112mm. I, f. 84v poorly inked and one passage overwritten in early manuscript; brown stains on I, ff. 144–45; repairs to the corners of I, ff. 303–310 with loss of a few letters from the shoulder notes of 2 pages; some light browning in places, las
Binding: Bound in 1 thick volume in contemporary limp vellum. Soiled, joints starting to split.
Provenance: ‘Hieronymi Saphii’, contemporary signature on first titlepage (scored through), in capitals on second titlepage (with some doodles) and on colophon leaf; small oval early owner’s stamp on titlepages; another early stamp with an Eagle and the IHS Christogram on the final blank leaf of vol. I; Capuchin Monastery of Sursee, near Lucerne, with library stamp on free endleaf.
First Clavius edition. A lavish folio for a more elite market was published at Cologne, and possibly printed there for the Venetian printer Giovanni Battisa Ciotti in 1591, and another 8vo Roman edition appeared in 1605.
Bibliography: Thomas-Stanford 19; Riccardi, Euclid 15742; Sommervogel II, col. 1213 no. 2; Adams E985; EDIT16 18360.
£3,000

An attractive and large copy with wide margins of the rare first edition of Clavius’ vast commentary with notes variorum on Euclid’s elements. This was Clavius’ most lasting work.
‘In 1574 Clavius published his main work, The elements of Euclid. ... His contemporaries called Clavius “the Euclid of the sixteenth century”. The Elements, which is not a translation, contains a vast quantity of notes collected from previous commentators and editors, as well as some good criticisms and elucidations of his own. Among other things, Clavius made a new attempt at proving the “postulate of parallels”.’ (H.L.L. Busard DSB 3, p. 311.)
The sixteenth book of the Elements was added by “Flussas”, i.e. François de Foix, Comte de Candale.
A good large copy with no cropping of the bold architectural titlepage borders as is often the case. The book is neatly printed and uses rather unusual swash capitals combined with printers’ flowers in the headlines. This edition was no doubt intended for Clavius’ students at the Collegio Romano. A lavish folio for a more elite market was published at Cologne, and possibly printed there for the Venetian printer Giovanni Battisa Ciotti in 1591, and another 8vo Roman edition appeared in 1605.
Keywords:     geometry