Lot 44
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Meteora graece et latine. Bordeaux, Simon de Millanges, 1605. 2 parts in one volume in-4, contemporary soft vellum.
Desgraves, n°69-70. - Lalande, p. 142.
First edition in Latin of the only surviving work of Cleomedes, astronomer (a crater on the Moon is named after him), mathematician and Stoic philosopher of Greek Antiquity (1st century BC).
Delambre, who devotes several pages to Cleomedes in his Histoire de l'Astronomie Ancienne, says that his work is valuable for the history of the science of which he traced the picture at the time when Posidonius lived. Indeed, this book, which is presented as an exposé of cosmography and astronomical geography, contains information that cannot be found anywhere else: we owe him, for example, the knowledge of the procedures used by Eratosthenes and Posidonius to measure the circumference of the Earth, and by the latter to evaluate the diameter of the Sun (cf. Maurice Caveing in Revue d'histoire des sciences, t. 35, n°2, 1982, pp. 165-167).
Cleomedes also provides remarkable observations on the void, the circles of the sphere, etc., and proves that the Earth is spherical,
The translation is by Robert Balfour, a British philosopher and philologist who composed a treatise on astronomy, published after Cleomedes' text, in continuous pagination but with a special title page: Commentarius in libros duos Cleomedis, De contemplatione orbium caelestinum. Balfour's scientific positions should be recalled: a supporter of Galileo, he quotes Copernicus several times, of whom he owned a copy of the original De Revolutionibus (1543), now preserved in the Arsenal.
Marginal spotting of the first 20 leaves, some brown spots. Damage to the spine and the top cover.
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