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PERIBOLOGIA ODER BERICHT VON VESTUNGSGEBEWEN [i.e. VESTUNGSGEWEBEN]. [and in a second part] VON BEVESTIGUNG SOWOHL DER LAGER ALS STÄTTE UNDT SCHLÖSSER
Frankfurt: Anton Hummen, 1640. FIRST EDITION. Hardcover. With More than 400 Illustrations of Fortifications, Fearful to Besiegers, but also Embracing Urban Development. 318 x 210 mm (12 1/2 x 8 1/4"). 163, [9] pp., followed by plates. Two volumes bound in one. FIRST EDITION. Attractive contemporary German blindstamped pigskin, covers with multiple frames of palmette, medallion, and floral rolls, central panel with lozenge centerpiece formed by four fleurons, the same tool repeated in the corners, raised bands, (faded) ink titling on spine, remnants of green cloth ties. WITH 410 ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS by Johann Wilhelm Dilich printed on 232 plates, 192 of these double-page, one a large folding plate. Cockle 832; Pollak, "Military Architecture, Cartography, and the Representation of the Early Modern European City: A Checklist of Treatises on Fortification in the Newberry Library," 14; Berlin Katalog 3526. A scattering of tiny brown flecks to upper board, light external wear and a hint of soiling, but the original binding completely solid and generally very well preserved. Text faintly browned and offset (as is common with German paper of this period), the majority of the plates with variable marginal foxing (mostly light, never severe), the fold-out plan with short tears and small patches of discoloration (one other plate partly torn along fold), other trivial imperfections, but still a very appealing copy internally because everything fresh, and the impressions of the plates extremely rich. This is a classic work on fortifications by the leading German authority of the period, someone whose own defense designs for the city of Frankfurt withstood assault until Napoleon's attack in 1806. According to Pollak, "This treatise is distinguished by the ferocity of the illustrations which attempt to create an aesthetic of fear, elaborated in the external form of the fortification, especially the casemates, the gun embrasures of the parapet and the gates. [Dilich's] outlines for fortified city plans are somewhat influenced by Francesco de'; Marchi';s, but have even more extensive outworks; [he] clearly supported a fortification system based on the 'tenaille', a predilection partially announced by his title (Peribologia = study of the circumference [of a sanctuary]). Nonetheless, many of his fortified city plans contain elaborate proposals for urban compositions of streets, squares and building lots." This work was published at a propitious time: the Thirty Years War was raging in Europe, and it was becoming clear that Medieval fortresses and walled cities were no defense against cannons, as demonstrated in successful sieges like those at Heidelberg and La Rochelle. There was thus quite a need for a book such as " Peribologia," and our German first edition was followed the next year by a Latin version. Wilhelm Dilich (1571-1650) was a peripatetic polymath educated at Wittenberg and Marburg. He spent many years touring and producing works of geography and travel description, before accepting the positions of historian, geographer, and architect to Maurice, Elector of Saxony. The illustrations here are by Dilich's son, Frankfurt engineer and architect Johann Wilhelm (1600-57), who also underwrote the publication. Mattheus Merian was inspired by the plates, which are both of historical interest and considerable aesthetic merit.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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