ARCHIMEDES; COMMANDINO, Frederico.
De iis quae vehuntur in Aqua libri duo; Liber de Centro Gravitates Solidorum.
Bologna: Benacius, 1565.
Two works in one volume; The first critical printing of Archimedes’ On Floating Bodies, edited by Commandino, bound with the first edition of Commandino’s important treatise On the Center of Gravity of Solid Bodies.
“Commandino’s only other original work, dealing with the center of gravity of solid bodies, was published in 1565 at Bologna, … Commandino’s interest in this topic was aroused by Archimedes’ Floating Bodies, of which he had no Greek text, unlike the five other Archimedean works he had previously translated. Since his time a large part of the Greek text of Floating Bodies has been recovered, but he had only a printed Latin translation (Venice, 1543, 1565), which he commented on and corrected (Bologna, 1565). In particular the proof of proposition 2 in book II was incomplete, and Commandino filled it out. One step required knowing the location of the center of gravity of any segment of a parabolic conoid. No ancient treatment of such a problem was then known, and Commandino’s was the first modern attempt to fill the existing gap.” (DSB, III:364).
In 1543 Tartaglia published “the Moerbeke translations of [Archimdes’] On the Equilibrium of Planes and Book I of On Floating Bodies (leaving the erroneous impression that he had made these translations from a Greek manuscript, which he had not since he merely repeated the texts of the Madrid manuscript with virtually all their errors). Incidentally, Curtius Trioianus published from the legacy of Tartaglia both books of On Floating Bodies in Moerbeke’s translation (Venice, 1565). The key event, however, in the further spread of Archimedes was the aforementioned editio princeps of the Greek text with the accompanying Latin translation of James of Cremona at Basel in 1544 [Opera, quae quidem extant, omnia]. Since the Greek text rested ultimately on manuscript A, On Floating Bodies was not included. A further Latin translation of the Archimedean texts was published by the perceptive mathematician Federigo Commandino in Bologna in 1558, which the translator supplemented with a skillful mathematical emendation of Moerbeke’s translation of On Floating Bodies (Bologna,1565) but without any knowledge of the long lost Greek text. (DSB, I:229).
Honeyman 131 & 739; Bibliotheca Mechanica 78; Stanitz 98 (the last three references are to Commandino’s work only).
4to: 202 x 141 mm. ff. [iv], 43; [iv], 47. Provenance: Armorial bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield on front pastedown, small armorial blind-stamp at head of first title and following leaf. Fine 17th citron morocco. A very good and clean copy.