Lot 60
  • 60


40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Elementa geometriae [translated by Adelardus Bathoniensis, edited by Johannes Campanus]. Vicenza: Leonardus Achates de Basilea and Guilielmus de Papia, [13 May or 20 June] 1491
  • Paper
Chancery folio (290 x 200mm.), 136 leaves (of 138, without initial and final blanks), a10 b–r8, 49 lines plus headline, roman type, first heading printed in red, 4- to 8-line woodcut initials, a2 within woodcut border, marginal woodcut diagrams, later Italian vellum, spine lettered in gilt, woodcut border shaved, r2 repaired in gutter, last leaf torn and repaired (without loss of text), binding slightly defective at foredges


Goff E114; HC 6694; BMC vii 1033; BSB-Ink E-107; Bod-inc E-037; GW 9429; Klebs 383.2; Steck II.5; Thomas-Stanford 2

Catalogue Note

SECOND EDITION, a close reprint of the 1482 Ratdolt first edition (and somewhat rarer), though in roman type rather than gothic, and retaining the innovative layout of marginal explanatory diagrams. "The six-hundred-odd diagrams, which were ingeniously designed for the editio princeps, illustrated Euclidean proofs somewhat less 'dimly' than had been done in many hand-copied books. Printed diagrams endowed the Elements with a clarity and uniformity that they had not possessed before. Is it too fanciful to suggest that Euclid was associated, thereafter, less with Latin verbiage and more with triangles, circles and squares?" (E. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Cambridge, 1979, p. 588). Ratdolt's version of Euclid was the medieval version of Campanus of Novara, based on the Latin translation of Adelard of Bath. The earliest surviving manuscript of this version dates to 1259; "the additiones Campanus made to his basic Euclidean text are particularly notable. With an eye to making the Elements as self-contained as possible, he devoted considerable care to the elucidation and discussion of what he felt to be obscure and debatable points. He also attempted to work Euclid more into the current of thirteenth-century mathematics by relating the Elements to, and even supplementing it with, material drawn from the Arithmetica of Jordanus de Nemore" (DSB IV, p.446).

Leonardus Achates from Basel was the first printer in Vicenza, where he began work in 1474 after printing in nearby Sant'Orso and Padua. It is one of two books he is known to have printed in association with Guilielmus de Papia.