Best edition of Gassendi's contribution to Copernican Astronomy
GASSENDI, Pierre. Institutio Astronomica luxta hypotheses tam vete-rum quam Copernici et Tychonis: dicta Parisiis a Petro Gassendo, Regio Matheseos Professore. Accedunt Ejusdem Varii Tratatus Astronomici, Quorum Catalogum Pagina Versa Indicabit, Editio ultima paulo ante mortem authoris recognita, aucta et emendata. Hagae-Comitum: Adrianum Veacq , 1656.
Best edition of Gassendi's contribution to Copernican Astronomy. A series of Astronomical Tracts by Gassendi. Each with their own title-page, but the pagination is continuous for all titles. Third edition overall of Institutio, first edition thus of all these works together as a collection. "Final edition shortly before the author's death revised, enlarged and amended." (Translated from the title-page). We could find no other complete copy of this at auction since 1963. Small quarto (7 7/8 x 6 inches; 200 x 155 mm). [12], 328, [8] pp. With numerous woodcuts throughout, some full page, all included in the pagination. Complete with woodcut portrait of the author, included in pagination as well. Title-page of Institutio printed in red and black.

Other titles include: Mercurius in sole visus, et Venus invisa Parisiis anno 1631. Pro voto & admonitione Kepleri...cum observatis quibusdam aliis. Hagae-Comitus, Adrianum Veacq. 1656.

Proportio gnomonis ad solstitialem umbram observata Massiliæ, anno 1636. pro Wendelini voto... Hagae-Comitus, Adrianum Veacq. 1656.

Novem stellæ circa Iovem visæ Coloniæ-exeunte anno 1642. & ineunte 1643... Hagae-Comitum, Adrianum Veacq. 1656.

Parhelia, sive soles qvatvor apvril, qui circa verum apparueunt Romæ, die xx, mensis martij, anno 1629. . Hagae-Comitum, Adrianum Veacq. 1656.

Also contains several letters and poems by various authors, Gassendi's epitaph, and a list of his works.

Full early vellum. Yapp edges. Title in manuscript on spine. Marbled endpapers. All edges speckled red. Inner hinges split but holding strong. Some minor toning and foxing occasionally. Small ink spots on final leaf, only affecting a few letters. Small tear at outer corner of leaf S2, not affecting text. Previous owner's old ink signature on front free endpaper, other wise not other markings. Overall a very good copy.

Institutio astronomica was first published in 1647. It was divided into three sections: the first discussed the “theory of the spheres,” the second described astronomical theory, and the third discussed the conflicting ideas of Tycho Brahe and Copernicus. The work was used as a textbook, particularly in English universities, for years. (from the Rare Books Department of Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah).

Pierre Gassendi (b. 1592, d. 1655) was a French philosopher, scientific chronicler, observer, and experimentalist, scholar of ancient texts and debates, and active participant in contemporary deliberations of the first half of the seventeenth century...Gassendi devoted much of his time to astronomical pursuits. He made regular observations of the skies for decades, producing confirmatory evidence for Kepler's views, observing sunspots, the anses of Saturn, and the passage of Mercury before the Sun (1631), and successfully predicting an eclipse in 1654. Moreover, he commissioned the first map of the moon, defended the Copernican view as plausible save for its conflicts with Church teachings, and offered many disparaging words on what he considered the scurrilous and empirically intolerable practice of astrology...The principal elements of Gassendi's astronomy include a global embrace of empirical method, advanced instrumentation, and measurement, an interest in unusual celestial phenomena, and a partially masked defense of Copernicanism. His embrace of an empiricist astronomy can be gauged by his voluminous recorded observations—some presumably with the telescope lenses sent by his friend Galileo—carried out in concert with a league of fellow observers strung across Europe and the Near East. A primary goal of these recorded observations was to confirm and extend the Rudolphine Tables, the project set up by Tycho Brahe and completed by Kepler, to facilitate calculation of the planet's positions (which goal in itself suggests Gassendi's adherence to a Keplerian heliocentrism)... The most controversial element of Gassendi's astronomy concerns whether, and to what extent, he may be counted as a defender of Galileo and the Copernican view. There is little question that he sympathized with Galileo, and that he was fully aware of the merits of Copernicanism, at times defending the view and some of its main planks openly. Yet he was also clearly concerned with allegiance to Holy Writ as interpreted by the Church, and to this end offers a Church-friendly account of the condemnation that focuses not on the underlying heliocentrism but on particularities of the Galilean model. His considered judgment is that the Tychean model is preferable to the Ptolemaic model, but also to the Copernican model—in the latter case simply because the heliocentric picture does not fit with Church teachings. He hastens to suggest, however, that those teachings are themselves warranted by our own current empirical evidence—the implication being that such truths and the concomitant rejection of Copernicanism might well be revisable. (Fisher, Saul, "Pierre Gassendi", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Houzeau & Lancaster 9222

HBS # 68312 $4,750