Johannes de Sacrobosco’s Important Astronomical Text
SACROBOSCO, Johannes de. Sphaera mundi. Venice: [Bonetus Locatellus] for Octavianus Scotus , 1490.
After Manilius’s Astronomica, Sacrobosco’s Sphaera was the first printed book on astronomy (Ferrara: 1472). Small quarto (7 3/4 x 5 7/8 inches; 197 x 150 mm). 48 leaves. Woodcuts and diagrams, seven of which are colored. With the full-page woodcut portraying Urania, Ptolemy, and Astronomia on a throne, printed here for the first time. And a woodcut printer's device printed in red on colophon leaf. Additionally there are numerous engraved initials. This is the second book printed in color, the first being the first edition of this title.

Full modern calf. Boards ruled in gilt. Spine stamped and lettered in gilt. Some minor scuffs to boards. Modern marbled endpapers. Previous owner's old ink faded marginalia, on title-page and throughout. Some minor occasional soiling and a few minor marginal wormholes. Overall a very good, crisp copy. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell.

Written about 1220, De Sphaera is “a small work based on Ptolemy and his Arabic commentators...antedating the De sphaera of Grosseteste. It was quite generally adopted as the fundamental astronomy text, for often it was so clear that it needed little or no explanation. It was first used at the University of Paris....and from the middle of the thirteenth century it was taught in all the schools of Europe. In the sixteenth century it gained the attention of mathematicians, including Clavius. As late as the seventeenth century it was used as a basic astronomy text” (DSB XII, p. 61).

BMC V, p. 438. Goff J-409.

HBS # 68493 $13,500