Rare First Edition of The Works of Arichimedes

  • Archimedes. Opera quae extant.
  • Archimedes. Opera quae extant.
  • Archimedes. Opera quae extant.

Archimedes. Opera quae extant.


Item Number: 67046

Paris: Apud Claude Morel, 1615.

The complete works of Archimedes, the first edition edited by David Rivault. Folio, bound in full calf, title page in red and black. With 551 woodcut illustrations in text, large printer’s device on title. This work contains the Greek text with a Latin translation alongside and has extensive explanatory notes. Brunet considered this one of the two finest editions of Archimedes, the founder of hydrostatics and theoretical mechanics. Brunet I 384; Graesse I 180. In excellent condition with light toning to the text.

"Together with Newton and Gauss, Archimedes is generally regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever known, and if his influence had not been overshadowed at first by Aristotle, Euclid and Plato, the progress of modern mathematics might have been much faster. As it was, his influence began to take full effect only after the publication of this first printed edition which enabled Descartes, Galileo and Newton in particular to build on what he had begun" (Printing and the Mind of Man). He anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola. Other mathematical achievements include deriving an accurate approximation of pi, defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name, and creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion.

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