Treasures in the Royal Library

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Euclid: Elementa in artem geometriae. Vicenza: Leonardus Achates and Guilelmus Papiensis, May 1491.
Inc. Haun. 1512 2º

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First page Book II, fol. b2r:
Example of three propositions
illustrated with geometric figures.
(Notice the inverted initial S)

An early edition of the Greek mathematician Euclid’s fundamental work on geometry (written c. 300 B.C.). The book is throughout illustrated with geometric figures, with a well-arranged layout in proportion to the text. Examples of three such figures are shown above.
Book II also contains a description of “the section”: the division of a line into two parts such that the ratio of the larger to the smaller segment is equal to the ratio of the original line to the larger segment. This division was renamed “the golden section” in the Renaissance after artists and architects rediscovered its pleasing proportions.
As is the case with the editions of Cornelius Nepos, Homer, and Aristotle, this book reflects the interest of the Renaissance in Greco-Roman antiquity, an interest which in Italy coincided with early printing in the latter part of the 15th century.

31.5 x 21.5 cm.

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