|Hyginus, C. Julius (1st century A.D.); Aratus, of Soli. (c. 315-c. 245 B.C.); Proclus Diadochus (ca. 410-484)|
C. Iulii Hygini Augusti Liberti Fabularum Liber, Ad Omnium Poetarum Lectionem Mire necessarius, & nunc denuo excusus: Eiusdem Poeticon Astronomicon Libri quatuor. Quibus accesserunt similis argumenti, Palaephati de fabulosis narrationibus, Liber I. F. Fulgentii Placiadis episcopi Carthaginensis Mythologiarum Libri III. Eiusdem de vocum antiquarum interpretatione, Liber I. Phurnuti De natura deorum, sive poeticarum fabularum allegorijs, speculatio. Albrici philosophi de Deorum imaginibs Liber. Arati Phainomenon fragmentum, Germanico Caesare interprete. Eiusdem Phaenomena Graece, cum interpretatione Latina. Procli de sphaera libellus, Graece & Latine. Index rerum & fabularum in his omnibus scitu dignarum copiosissimus.
Basel: Per Ioannem Heruagium, 1549
Folio: 30.8 x 20 cm. [alpha]4, a-z6, A6 (lacking final blank)
SECOND EDITION THUS (first ed. 1534). The text of Hyginus is illustrated with forty-eight fine woodcuts of astronomical figures. The Greek texts of Aratus and Proclus are accompanied by Latin translations. Herwagen's woodcut "Hermes Trismegistus" device appears on the title page. Bound in 17th c. sprinkled calf, nicely rebacked preserving the spine, with gilt ornaments and label. A fine copy with a few contemporary annotations, cropped, to the first few leaves and the signature of Jan Barrier of Lyon, dated 1564 and with his slogan "Omnia vanitas" on the title and final leaf. The title has been strengthened in the gutter.
|Location of Origin: Europe|
|Dimensions: Folio: 30.8 x 20 cm.|
|Primary Classification: Antique Books, Manuscripts, and Maps : Science Books|
|Secondary Classification: Antique Books, Manuscripts, and Maps : Other Books for Sale|
|This is the second edition edited by Jacobus Micyllus (1503-1558) of the "Astronomica", a poem on the constellations traditionally attributed to the first century writer C. Julius Hyginus, the Director of the Palatine Library under Augustus. This collected edition also includes two other early astronomical texts: the original Greek text (with Latin translations) of the "Phaenomena" of Aratus Solensis (Latin translation by Germanicus) and the "De sphaera" by Proclus Diadochus (Latin translation by Thomas Lincacre).|
Additonal works: Hyginus "Fabulae"; "De fabulosis narrationibus" by Palaephatus; "Mythologiae" and "De vocum antiquarum interpretatione" by Fulgentius; Phurnutus' "De natura deorum speculatio"; and Albricus' (13th c.) "De Deorum imaginibus Liber".
"Under the name of Hyginus two school treatises on mythology are extant: (1) "Fabularum Liber", some 300 mythological legends and celestial genealogies, valuable for the use made by the author of the works of Greek tragedians now lost; (2) "De Astronomia", usually called "Poetica Astronomica", containing an elementary treatise on astronomy and the myths connected with the stars, chiefly based on the work of Eratosthenes. Both are 'abridgments and both are by the same hand; but the style and Latinity and the elementary mistakes (especially in the rendering of the Greek originals) are held to prove that they cannot have been the work of so distinguished a scholar as C. Julius Hyginus. It is suggested that these treatises are an abridgment (made in the latter half of the 2nd century) of the "Genealogiae" of Hyginus by an unknown grammarian, who added a complete treatise on mythology." (EB)
"Aratus' only extant work is "Phaenomena", a poem in 1,154 hexameters. After a prelude consisting of a hymn to Zeus, he describes the northern and the southern constellations. He refrains from giving an explanation of the planetary movements, apparently because of their complicated nature and the difficulty of calculating their conjunction (an allusion to the great year). Next Aratus describes the circles of the celestial sphere and then deals with the calendar: the hours of the risings and settings of stars, the days of the lunar month, the seasons and the Metonic cycle. The second part of the poem deals with weather signs and is an integral part of it even though some ancient commentators give it a separate title (Prognosis). After a transitional part, in which he again emphasizes the power of all-pervading Zeus, Aratus deals with the signs derived from the observation of the different celestial phenomena (the stars, the sun, etc.); he ends with a description of the signs that depend on terrestrial phenomena. He concludes his poem with an invitation to observe all these signs during the whole year, certain that we will not, by doing so, reach unwarranted conclusions.
"The "Phaenomena" became famous as soon as it was published, as may be seen from the epigrams that Callimachus (Anth. Pal. IX, 507) and Leonidas of Tarentum (Anth. Pal. IX, 25) dedicate to Aratus. The poem was translated into Latin by Cicero and by Germanicus; Avienus translated it in the fourth century, and there is extant a seventh-century translation in barbarous Latin. The "Phaenomena" is cited by numerous authors, both Greek and Latin, and remained fashionable until the sixteenth-century, as may be seen by the numerous manuscripts that have come down to us." (DSB)
III. Aratus' "Phaenomena":
Born in the city of Soli in Cilicia, Aratus studied under the Stoic philosopher Zeno, through whose influence Aratus entered the court of Antigonus II of Macedonia. It was at Antigonus' request that Aratus composed his long astronomical poem, the "Phaenomena". The poem, Aratus' only extant work, is valuable for preserving what is considered to be the first star catalogue, that of Eudoxus of Cnidus (368 B.C.). After the famous prelude, Aratus describes the northern and southern constellations and the circle of the celestial sphere. Next, he deals with the calendar and the hours of the rising and setting stars. Then follows a discussion of the days of the lunar month, followed by the seasons, and then the Metonic cycle. The second part deals with meteorology -an integral part of the main text, even though ancient commentators give it a separate title. After a transition, Aratus deals with the signs derived from the observation of the sun, stars, and other celestial phenomena. He ends with a description of the signs that depend on terrestrial phenomena. Individual stars are differentiated by their brilliance. Aratus' work was enormously popular, inspiring a whole sub-genre of translations and imitations, the three most important of which are included in this volume. By firmly establishing the figures associated with the constellations, the work had an important influence on sixteenth and seventeenth-century celestial cartographers, such as Johann Bayer. This edition includes the first edition of the important Greek commentary of the Alexandrian mathematician Theon, who also composed commentaries on Euclid's "Elements" and Ptolemy's "Almagest".
IV. Proclus' "Sphaera":
This work, transmitted under the name of Proclus, is considered to be largely the work of the stoic philosopher Geminus of Rhodes (fl. ca. 10 A.D.), a student or later follower of Posidonius.
Drawing on the work of earlier astronomers such as Hipparchus, the "Sphaera" begins with an explanation of the astrological aspects of astronomical signs and their influence on human affairs. Next come chapters on the constellations, the circles of the celestial sphere, and a discussion of the variations of the length of day and night at different latitudes. Chapter 7 -based largely on Hipparchus and his commentary on Aratus- deals with the rising of the zodiacal signs and the length of the lunar month, with explanations of the phases of the moon, lunar eclipses, and the general motion of the planets. This is followed by discussions of the rising and setting of the fixed stars, the zones of the terrestrial globe, and the principles upon which "parapegmata" (astronomical calendars containing weather prognostications that contain the rising and setting of certain stars and constellations) are based. There is also a chapter dealing with the deals with the "exeligmus", or shortest period containing a whole number of synodic months, of anomalistic months, and of days, also treated in the Almagest (IV, 2).
In addition to the highly important first printing of the Greek text, this edition also includes the first printing of the Latin translation by the English humanist scholar Thomas Linacre. Linacre traveled to Italy in 1487 to study with the Greek scholar Demetrius Chalcondyles and the Italian humanist Angelo Poliziano. From 1497 to 1499 Linacre assisted Aldus in printing the "editio princeps" of the Greek text of Aristotle. His work on the Aldine Aristotle and his translation of the "Sphaera" are the most important contributions to the revival of Greek learning by an Englishman in the fifteenth-century.
VD16, H 6480; Adams H1252; Houzeau-Lancaster 762; Zinner 1958; Wellcome I, 3378
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