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Perspective communis. [Edited by Andreas - PECKHAM, John - 1504. 
Numerous geometrical woodcuts in the outer margins of the text & woodcut printer's device on recto of final leaf. 38 unnumbered leaves. Small folio, modern pigskin over boards (a few minor stains). [Leipzig: Martin Herbipolensis, 1504]. A rare and handsome early edition of this classic work on optics; it was the most influential text on the subject for three hundred years. This is the first edition to be edited by Andreas Alexander (ca. 1475-ca. 1504), who prepared this edition to instruct students at the University of Leipzig where he had recently been appointed to the faculty of arts (see Lindberg, Theories of Vision from al-Kindi to Kepler, p. 121). Leipzig had, in the 15th and early 16th century, a vigorous tradition of presenting regular lectures on the Perspective communis. "The work on which Pecham's fame has chiefly rested is the Perspectiva communis, probably written between 1277 and 1279 during Pecham's professorship at the papal curia. In the first book Pecham discussed the propagation of light and color, the anatomy and physiology of the eye, the act of visual perception, physical requirements for vision, the psychology of vision, and the errors of direct vision. In book II he discussed vision by reflected rays and presented a careful and sophisticated analysis of image formation by reflection. Book III was devoted to the phenomena of refraction, the rainbow, and the Milky Way... "The central feature of Pecham's optical system and the dominant theme of book I of the Perspectiva communis is the theory of direct vision. Here, as elsewhere, Pecham endeavored to reconcile all the available authorities -- Aristotle, Euclid, Augustine, al-Kindi, Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Rushd, Grosseteste, and Bacon... "Pecham's optical system included significantly more than a theory of direct vision. He briefly discussed the doctrine of species; treated at length the propagation of rays; and developed a theory to explain how solar radiation, when passing through noncircular apertures, gives rise to circular images. He expressed the full law of reflection and applied it to image formation by plane, spherical, cylindrical, and conical mirrors; in this analysis he revealed an implicit understanding of the nature of the focal point of a concave mirror... "Pecham's success was greatest in the case of the Perspectiva communis. This text...went through twelve printed editions, including a translation into Italian, between 1482 and 1665. It was used and cited by many medieval and Renaissance natural philosophers, including Dominicus de Clavasio, Henry of Langenstein, Blasius of Parma, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Brudzewski, Francesco Maurolico, Giambattista della Porta, Girolamo Fabrici, Johannes Kepler, Willebrord Snellius, and G.B. Riccioli...The Perspectiva communis was the most widely used of all optical texts from the early fourteenth until the close of the sixteenth century, and it remains today the best index of what was known to the scientific community in general on the subject."ÂD.S.B., X, pp. 475-76. Peckham (ca. 1230-1292), took his degrees at Paris and Oxford and in 1279 was elected archbishop of Canterbury. The first edition of the text was published ca. 1482-83. Very good copy preserved in a red morocco-backed box. This edition is very rare. Smith, History of Mathematics, II, p. 341Â"The work that had the greatest influence upon the subject of perspective in the Middle Ages was the Perspective communis."
[Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
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