74
74
Boethius (c. 480-524/525)
DE INSTITUTIONE ARITHMETICA. AUGSBURG: ERHARD RATDOLT, 20 MAY 1488
Estimate
20,00030,000
JUMP TO LOT
74
Boethius (c. 480-524/525)
DE INSTITUTIONE ARITHMETICA. AUGSBURG: ERHARD RATDOLT, 20 MAY 1488
Estimate
20,00030,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London

Boethius (c. 480-524/525)
DE INSTITUTIONE ARITHMETICA. AUGSBURG: ERHARD RATDOLT, 20 MAY 1488
FIRST EDITION, 4to (196 x 145mm.), 48 leaves, a-f8, double column, 40 lines, gothic type, 6- to 13-line woodcut white-on-black initials, woodcut diagrams, 7pp. of contemporary manuscript notes and diagrams in brown ink bound at end, the first entitled "Verus locus Sat[ur]ni i[n] sua spera", modern crushed chestnut morocco, slipcase, inscription neatly erased from head of a1
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Provenance

sale in these rooms, 1 November 1976, lot 90, Brandon, £1,500; sale in these rooms, 27 September 1988, lot 158, £8,500, Erwin Tomash

Literature

Tomash & Williams B184; ISTC ib00828000; Riccardi i, 139, Smith, Rara arithmetica p.25

Catalogue Note

Boethius' treatise was "the first systematic and well-developed treatise on the mathematical subject in the Roman world" (Jean-Yves Guillaumin, "Boethius' De institutione arithmetica and its influence on posterity", in A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, p. 135). It is an adaptation with additions of the work with same title by Nicomachus of Gerasa, written in c. 100 AD, and it became the main textbook on arithmetic in the medieval period. In this work Boethius introduces the concept of the quadrivium, the meeting of the four branches of science (arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy). Boethius dedicates his text to his father-in-law, Symmachus, who encouraged Boethius to undertake this work, which was his first book (his last being the Consolation of Philosophy).

The manuscript notes at the end, in an Italian hand, show the movements of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the sun and moon.

The Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing

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London