EUCLIDIS ELEMENTORUM by [EUCLID.] CLAVIUS, Christoph.

EUCLIDIS ELEMENTORUM libri XV. Accessit XVI. de solidorum regularium comparatione. Omnes perspicuis demonstrationibus, accuratisque; scholiis illustrati. Auctore Christophoro Clavio Bambergensi. Societatis Iesu. Romae, apud Vincentium Accoltum. [Colophon:] Romae, Apud Vincentium Accoltum. M.D. LXXIIII. Cum licentia Superiorum. Rome: Vincenzo Accolti,

1574. Two volumes in one thick volume, 8vo; I. ff. [40] 331 [1] (last leaf blank); II. ff. 300; in Roman and Italic letter; with woodcut architectural border on each title page, printer’s device above colophon on vol. II, 2P4r, woodcut initials, typographic ornaments, and numerous woodcut diagrams in the text; I, f. 84v poorly inked and one passage overwritten in early manuscript, with brown staining affecting ff. 144–45 and discreet repairs to the corners of ff. 303–310 with loss of a few letters from the shoulder notes of 2 pages; II. nick at tail of ff. 300 with slight loss; occasional light browning and faint marginal dampstaining, some light edgewear and fraying to final few leaves; in contemporary limp vellum, covers darkened and somewhat soiled, front inner hinge cracked but holding, joints starting to split, with paper label on spine lettered in mss; with contemporary signature of ‘Hieronymi Saphii’, on first title page (scored through), in capitals on second title page (with some doodles) and at tail of penultimate verso; with small oval early owner’s stamp on titlepages, another early stamp with an Eagle and the IHS Christogram on the final blank leaf of vol. I, and with library stamp on front free endleaf of the Capuchin Monastery of Sursee, near Lucerne. An attractive and large copy with wide margins of the rare first edition of Clavius’ vast commentary with notes variorum on Euclid’s elements. This was Clavius’ most lasting work.
‘In 1574 Clavius published his main work, The elements of Euclid.... His contemporaries called Clavius “the Euclid of the sixteenth century”. The Elements, which is not a translation, contains a vast quantity of notes collected from previous commentators and editors, as well as some good criticisms and elucidations of his own. Among other things, Clavius made a new attempt at proving the “postulate of parallels”.’ (DSB 3, p. 311.)
The sixteenth book of the Elements was added by “Flussas”, i.e. François de Foix, Comte de Candale.
This is a good large copy with no cropping of the bold architectural title page borders as is often the case. The book is neatly printed and uses rather unusual swash capitals combined with printers’ flowers in the headlines. This edition was no doubt intended for Clavius’ students at the Collegio Romano. A lavish folio for a more elite market was published at Cologne, and possibly printed there for the Venetian printer Giovanni Battisa Ciotti in 1591, and another 8vo Roman edition appeared in 1605.

Bibliography: Thomas-Stanford 19; Riccardi, Euclid 15742; Sommervogel II, col. 1213 no. 2; Adams E985; EDIT16 18360.

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