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Introductorium in astronomiam Albumasaris abalachi octo continens libros partiales. (Venice, Giacomo Penzio for Melchiorre Sessa, 5 Sept 1506).
1506. 4to (210 × 150 mm). 64 unnumbered ff. With woodcut illustration on title, woodcut initials, astrological figures in the text, printer's mark on final leaf verso; complete with final blank. 19th-c. vellum with red and black morocco labels and gilt centre tools to spine. An attractive edition of this key astrological work. Of all the Arabic writers on astrology, the most imposing is Ja'far ibn Muhammad Abû Ma'shar al-Balkhî (c. 787-886), known in the West as Albumasar. The most notable astrological work ascribed to him is the "Prediction of Changes of Years and Births". A manuscript in Cairo titled "Kitab Akham al-Qiranat wa'l Kawakib wa'l Buruj al-Ithnay 'Ashra" (Book of Indication of Conjunction and Corrections of Stars with some other Stars) is very probably the same work (cf. B. A. Rosenfeld and E. Ihsanoglu, Mathematicians, Astronomers and other Scholars of Islamic Civilisation and their Works [Istanbul, 2003], no. 88, p. 34). This 12th-century Latin translation by John of Seville of his "al-Madkhal al-kabir ilá 'ilm ahkam al-nujum" (Great Introduction to the Science of Astrology) was first published at Augsburg, 1489. - Upon Sessa's well-known device, the famous bibliophile Bishop of Ely, John Moore, remarked: "Whenever you see a book with a cat and a mouse in the frontispiece, seize upon it: for the chances are three to four that it will be found both curious and valuable" (Fumagalli, 486). - Small early inkstamp on title; ms. index to binder's blanks at end; some early marginalia and underlinings in two distinct hands. Bookplate of William Stirling-Maxwell (1818-78), the Scottish historical writer, statesman, horse breeder, and collector. Vellum insignificantly darkened with dust, the occasional trivial mark internally; overall an excellent copy. Edit 16, CNCE 822. Adams A 567. Isaac 12913. Gaselee, Early printed books in Corpus Christi Cambridge, 166. Graesse I, 60. Heritage Library, Scientific Treasures, p. 30.
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