Rare Science Book by Plinius Secondi (Pliny), Gasius; Plinii Secundi divinu m opus cui titulus, Historia mundi. 1525
Item Number: Book-658a
Plinii Secundus, Casius (Pliny); Ioannes Frobenius lectori S. D. En damus C. Plinii Secundi divinum opus cui titulus, Historia mundi, multo quam antehac unquam prodijt emanulatius: idq[ue] primum ex annotationibus eruditorum hominum, praesortim Hermolai Barbari: deinde ex collatione exemplariorum. quae hactenus opera doctorum nobix quam fieri potuit emendatissime sunt excusa: postremo ex fide uetustissimorum codicum, ex quibus non pauca restituimus, quae alioque nemo, quamlibet eruditus uel deprehendit, uel deprehendere poterat. Absit inuidia dicto. Vicimus superiores omneis. Si quis hanc palmam nobis eripuerit, non illi quide[m] inuidebimus, sed studijs publicis gratulabimur. Bene uale lector, & fruere Agathe tyche. Additus est index, in quo nihil desideres. Basileae: apud Io. Frobenium, Mense Martie, An. M. D. XXV.. Folio, pp. 36, 671, 143, printer's device on the title page; verso of p. 671, title page of the index; verso of the final leaf.
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The work is complete and in a beautiful contemporary full calf with gilt ruled edges, gilt armorial seal on cover, gilt titles, 7 gilt spine panels and gilt text block edges. Light archival restoration to binding edges. The text is very clean with early small penned notes to margins of some pages. Over all in very good condition.
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Pliny (c23-79) is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on science in ancient Europe. He was educated in Rome, and after a military career he studied jurisprudence. Pliny retired c57 A.D. to devote himself to scholarly study and writing. Pliny's great encyclopedia of nature and art in 37 books, the Historia Naturalis, is the only one of his works that has been preserved. The first ten books were published in 77 A.D. and the remainder after his death, edited probably by his nephew, Pliny the Younger. In 79 A.D., eager to examine more closely the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius that overwhelmed and destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii, he sailed across the bay of Naples to Stabiae, where he was suffocated by the vapors from the eruption.
In the preface to his Historia Pliny states that the work contains over 20,000 facts culled from some 200 books and over 100 selected authors. In fact there are 473 authors mentioned: 146 Roman and 327 Greek. Thus, while he uses Aristotle as his principle authority, he accumulated information from sources as he uncovered them, and but for his diligence, a vast amount of material preserved in the Historia would have been lost to the world.
The Historiae Naturalis is divided into 37 books (or sections) that may be considered the first encyclopedia of knowledge. Scientific subjects include astronomy, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, botany, husbandry, zoology, geography, anthropology, ethnology, and much on the history and practice of medicine and art. It was a common source from which early writers of science drew examples, and it presents in the final four books the ancient Roman view of minerals and geological processes.
Also of major importance is the printer of the 1525 Historia Mundi, Johann Froben. (Born: Hammelburg in Franken, Germany, 1460; Died: Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, 25 October 1527). He was a German printer. and his firm was considered the finest printing company of its time. By 1486 he was working in the print shop of Anton Koberger in Nuremberg. By November, 1490 Froben had relocated to Basel, Switzerland and obtained a printing franchise there and became very successful. About 1513, Froben persuaded the noted Biblical scholar Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam to come to Basel to prepare a Greek New Testament edition. Using manuscripts from the library at Basel University, the two men produced their Greek text in 1516. It became known as the textus receptus (Latin for received text). This was the book that was used as a basic guide for the translators of the King James Version.