1575 · Urbino
by Euclid.; Valerio Spacciuoli; Federico Commandino .
Urbino: Domenico Frisolino, 1575. Hard cover. Very Good. Folio; , 278 pages. Title page and all text pages ruled in typographic border. Typographic ornament on title page, 18 historiated initials (some duplicates) showing putti with geometer's instruments against a background of Italian hill towns. Numerous geometric figures in text. Bound in c19 (?) full mint green sheep, with red leather title label lettered and tooled in gilt. Edges stained indigo. Binding somewhat scuffed, with upper joint cracked; spine darkened and scuffed. Early ownership inscription on title page, later bookplate on front pastedown. Few marginal notes in contemporary hand. Very light occasional foxing present. References: Moranti, #4 ("un vero capolavoro tipografico" p.14); Gamba 1386 ("Nobile edizione"); Adams, E-995;; Brunet, II, 1090; Graesse, II, 513; Thomas-Stanford, 42; Olschki, Choix, 6539 ("Traduction très estimée").
The first book printed in Urbino in the 16th century, and only the fourth overall. Urbino's presses lagged behind those of other Italian cities, due in part to Duke Federico's predilection for manuscripts. It seems Federico Commandino, the foremost mathematician of the generation before Galileo, had a press set up in his house. He hired in a printer, Domenico Frisolino, and there he published his translation into Italian of Euclid, based on his own Latin translation of 1572. Commandino died just as the sheets were coming off the press. His brother-in-law hastily attached a dedicatory letter (to Francesco Maria II della Rovere) explaining that Commandino wanted the text to be available to "all who are served by mathematics," that is, even those who do not understand classical languages. Euclid's text is glossed by Commandino's running commentary, and illustrated with figures. (Inventory #: 5476)