Iππάρχου ... τῶν Ἀράτου καὶ Εὐδόξου φαινομένων ἐξηγήσεων βιβλία γ. Τοῦ αὐτοῦ ἀστερίσμοι. Ἀχιλλέως Στατίου προλεγόμενα εἰς τα Ἀράτου φαινόμενα… Hipparchi Bithyni in Arati et Eudoxi Phaenomena libri III; eiusdem libri asterismorum; Achillis Statii in Arati Phaenomena; Arati vita, et fragmenta aliorum veterum in eius Poema.

Florence: In officina Iuntarum, Bernardi filiorum, 1567.

First edition, very rare, of the only surviving work of Hipparchus (c. 190-127 BC). “Even the most casual discussion of ancient astronomy will not fail to call Hipparchus of Nicaea in Bithynia ‘the greatest astronomer of antiquity’” (Neugebauer, p. 320). Our knowledge of Hipparchus’ works is principally derived from the present work, *Commentary on the Phaenomena of Eudoxus and Aratus*, what may be inferred from it about his earlier work, and from references to him by other contemporary authors, notably Ptolemy, who refers to him repeatedly in the *Almagest*. “In his own astronomical work, Ptolemy made extensive use of the work of Hipparchus, building on the foundation laid by him. Ptolemy described Hipparchus as ‘industrious’ and, repeatedly, as a great ‘lover of truth’. That Hipparchus continued to be held in high regard is demonstrated by the various depictions of him on frontispieces of astronomical works published long after his death. Hipparchus’s many important and lasting contributions to astronomy included practical and well as theoretical innovations. He employed geometrical models, including the deferent-epicycle and eccentric previously used by Apollonius. One of his contributions appears to have been the incorporation of numerical data based on observations into the geometrical models developed to account for the astronomical motions; Gerald Toomer has credited Hipparchus with the founding of trigonometry. Hipparchus was very interested in observation; his recorded observations span the years 147 to 127 BC. He used an instrument described by Ptolemy as a dioptra and may have invented the planispheric astrolabe. Hipparchus made extensive observations of star positions, and is credited by some with the production of the first known catalogue of stars. He turned his attention to a wide variety of astronomical questions, including the length of the year, the determination of lunar distance and the computation of lunar and solar eclipses. He developed theories for the Sun and Moon demonstrating (as Ptolemy explained, Almagest, 421) ‘that they are represented by uniform circular motions’. Ptolemy noted that as far as he knew, Hipparchus did not establish theories for the five planets, ‘not at least in his writings which have come down to us’. But Hipparchus did compile the planetary observations to which he had access into a more useful arrangement, and demonstrated that the phenomena were ‘not in agreement with the hypotheses of the astronomers of that time’. Hipparchus’s discussion of the motion of the points of solstice and equinox slowly from east to west against the background of the fixed stars is perhaps his most famous achievement; he has been therefore credited with the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes. Otto Neugebauer has suggested that Hipparchus, in fact, invented the theory of trepidation. Perhaps most intriguing for historians of astronomy is Hipparchus’s use of Babylonian astronomical material, including methods as well as observations. Many questions remain regarding the relationship between Babylonian and Greek astronomy, but Hipparchus’s work provides a clear link. Toomer has argued that Hipparchus was responsible for the direct transmission of both Babylonian observations and procedures and for the successful synthesis of Babylonian and Greek astronomy” (sites.hps.cam.ac.uk/starry/hipparchus.html). ABPC/RBH list only three copies in the last 40 years. The Macclesfield copy (in 18^{th} century binding) realized £12,000 (= $22,328) in 2004.

*Provenance*: Biblioteca de Cingaris, 1798 (bookplate on front paste-down).

“Hipparchus transformed Greek astronomy from a theoretical to a practical science, by applying to the geometrical models (notably the eccentric/epicyclic hypothesis) that had been developed by his predecessors numerical parameters derived from observations, thus making possible the prediction of celestial positions for any given time. In order to do this he also founded trigonometry, by computing the first trigonometric function, a chord table. He constructed viable theories for the sun and moon, and, using several ingenious methods for determining the lunar distance (which he was the first to estimate accurately), developed a theory of parallax. He was thus able to compute both lunar and solar eclipses. For the planets, however, he refused to construct a theory, contenting himself with compiling a list of observations from which he showed the insufficiency of previous planetary models. He is famous for his discovery of the precession of the equinoxes, which is connected both with his investigations of the length of the year and his observations of star‐positions.

“Hipparchus was a systematic and careful observer, who invented several instruments. He had a critical and original mind and a fertile mathematical invention. But he could not have achieved what he did without the aid of Babylonian astronomy, of which he displays a knowledge far deeper than any Greek before or after him, and the success of which in predicting phenomena he evidently wished to emulate. Not only did he have access to the wealth of Babylonian observational records (which he seems to have been instrumental in transmitting to the Greek world), but he also adopted many numerical parameters directly from Babylonian astronomy, and used a number of Babylonian arithmetical procedures, which were only later replaced (by Ptolemy) with strictly geometrical methods. Hipparchus' skill in combining the Babylonian and Greek traditions in astronomy was crucial to the successful propagation of the science in that form for over 1,000 years.

“His only extant work, the *Commentary on the Phainomena of Eudoxus and Aratus*, contains criticisms of their descriptions and placings of the constellations and stars, and a list of simultaneous risings and settings. Valuable information on Hipparchus' own star co‐ordinates has been extracted from it” (Oxford Reference).

“In the mid-fourth century B.C., Eudoxus wrote a pioneering work naming and describing the constellations. This is now lost (Hipparchus is the main source of our knowledge of it). In the early third century B.C., Aratus wrote a poem based on Eudoxus, called ‘Phaenomena,’ which became immensely popular and is still extant. Not long before Hipparchus a mathematician, Attalus of Rhodes, wrote a commentary on Aratus (now lost). Hipparchus’ treatise is a critique of all three works. None of the three contained any mathematical astronomy, only descriptions of the relative positions of stars, simultaneous risings and settings, and the like; and much of Hipparchus’ criticism in books 1 and 2 is of the same qualitative kind. But even from this, one can see that he had fixed the positions of a number of stars according to a mathematical system (he incidentally notes some polar distances, declinations, and right ascensions). The last part of book 2 and the whole of book 3 are devoted to his own account of the risings and settings of the principal constellations … Whereas his predecessors had merely reported the stars or constellations that rise and set together with a given constellation, Hipparchus gave the corresponding degrees of the ecliptic (for risings, settings, and culminations). At the end of book 3 is a list of bright stars that lie on or near twenty-four-hour circles, beginning with the hour circle through the summer solstice. Hipparchus says that the purpose of this is to enable one to tell the time at night when making astronomical observations.

“In this treatise Hipparchus indicates the position of a star in various ways. We have already mentioned declination (which he calls “distance from the equator along the circle through the pole”) and polar distance (the complement of declination) … The assignment of the stars to the hour circles at the end of book 3 is also a form of right ascension. Besides these equatorial coordinates, we find in the section on simultaneous risings and settings a mixture of equatorial and ecliptic coordinates: Hipparchus names the point of the ecliptic that crosses the meridian together with a given star. In other words, he gives the point at which the declination circle through the star cuts the ecliptic. It is significant that this, the ‘polar longitude,’ is one of the standard coordinates for fixed stars in Indian astronomical texts. There are no purely ecliptic coordinates (latitude and longitude) in Hipparchus’ treatise.

“Far from being a ‘work of his youth’ as it is frequently described, the commentary on Aratus reveals Hipparchus as one who has already compiled a large number of observations, invented methods for solving problems in spherical astronomy, and developed the highly significant idea of mathematically fixing the positions of the stars (Aristyllus and Timocharis recorded a few declinations in the early third century, but we know of nothing else before Hipparchus)” (G. J. Toomer in DSB).

Most of what is known about Hipparchus is derived from references in Strabo’s *Geography*, Pliny’s *Natural History* and Ptolemy’s *Almagest*. He was probably born in Bithynia (modern Iznik in Turkey), where he carried out his first scientific work. Around 142 B.C. he moved to Rhodes where he lived and worked for the remainder of his life. He died some time after 127 B.C. The lunar crater Hipparchus and the asteroid 4000 Hipparchus are named after him.

Censimento 16 CNCE 22499; Houzeau & Lancaster 838; Pettas, Giunti, p. 246. Neugebauer, ‘Notes on Hipparchus,’ *Astronomy and History*:* Selected Essays*, 1983.

Folio (300 x 190 mm), pp. [8], 123, [1]. Text in Greek with Latin preliminaries, woodcut printer’s lily device on title-page, woodcut head- and tail-pieces, woodcut vignette on final leaf verso, three arabesque Greek initials in the Byzantine style, seven historiated initials, some marginal annotations in Greek (small hole in front paste-down and title due to adhesion between the two, light damp stain to outer margin of first 8 leaves, three small wormholes in last half of the text and rear board, occasionally touching a letter). Contemporary limp vellum, manuscript spine lettering. A very good and genuine copy in its original binding, unrestored.

Item #3643

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Price:
$48,000.00
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