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Le macchine ottiche:
Florence: presso Pietro Allegrini, , 1809. esercizio fisico-matematica che per Saggio dei suoi studj pubblicamente propone sotto la direzione dei CC. RR. delle scuole pie nella sala del Collegio di S. Michele di Volterra. Printed work and 2 manuscripts bound in 2 volumes, octavo (varying sizes: 223 x 160 mm & 197 x 140 mm). Bound to match in mid-19th-century Italian green calf, smooth spines lettered and decorated in gilt, sides with thick gilt rule outside scroll borders, enclosing the papal arms in gilt at centre, marbled endpapers. 1st volume: printed work (pp. 24; extended folding diagram) bound before 39 manuscript leaves, apparently incomplete at end, folding diagram at end. 2nd volume, title page in manuscript "Studi di matematica fatti da Giovanni Maria Mastai ferretti di Sinigaglia nel collego di Volterra" (dated 1808 and 1809) and 52 unnumbered leaves, written on both sides (two leaves with excisions). Extremities rubbed, stain to title of 2nd volume, overall very good. Rare first edition of Le macchine ottiche, the first and only scientific publication of the future Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti (1792–1878), who reigned as pope from 16 June 1846 to his death, bound together with two of his original academic manuscripts on optics and mathematics. Mastai was educated privately up to the age of 11, when he was sent to the College of St Michael, Volterra, under the Piarist Fathers, where he remained until 1809. Although his ultimate inclination was to study theology, he showed a keen interest in the scientific element of the school syllabus. The book prints his final academic essay presented at the conclusion of his studies. The printed book is rare, WorldCat locating two copies only worldwide: in the US, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and in Switzerland, Stiftung Bibliothek Werner Oechslin. Pius IX's long-term interest in science is reflected by one of his first acts as pope, his revival in 1847 of the Academy of Lynxes, which had dissolved after the death of its founder, but which Pius recreated under the name Accademia Pontificia dei Nuovi Lincei ("Pontifical Academy of the New Lynxes"). Pius IX was the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years. He is particularly remembered for his promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and for the First Vatican Council, convened in 1869, which defined the dogma of papal infallibility. He has been called the first public pope of the modern era. The larger of the two volumes, containing the printed work first, is inscribed on the first blank: "The manuscript part of this volume was written, as an examination paper in optics in September 1809, by His Holiness Pope Pius the IXth, then in his 20th year: and was given to me by Monsignor Talbot, of His Holiness, in the Vatican in 1867" signed by James Laird Patterson (1822–1902), papal chamberlain and later Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. The second volume has an ownership inscription, also noting the book as the gift of George Talbot, dated 22 April 1875. Monsignor George Talbot (1816–1886), a converted Anglican priest who also served Pope Pius IX as one of his chamberlains, is notorious among English Catholics for his dislike of Newman and his remark, "What is the province of the laity? To hunt, to shoot, to entertain." In 1868 he was dismissed from the Roman curia and was placed in a mental institution near Paris. For many years the pope kept Talbot's apartments in the Vatican ready in case he should return.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-09-23           Check availability:      Biblio    

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