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De Re Militari. Opera de Facti e Praecepti Militari
Trans. by Paolo Ramusio. 313 leaves (of 314), lacking final blank, otherwise complete, including blank leaves *1 and a1. 37 lines & headline, Roman type. Numerous initials in various sizes supplied in red and blue. 96 fine woodcut illustrations. Folio (310 x 208 mm.), cont. Italian blind-tooled brown calf over wooden boards (upper cover a little defective, crack in the wood of one board repaired), compartments of spine decorated with floral stamps, covers with floral and geometrical borders, metal bosses with engraved flowers in the corners, paper label on spine "L'Arte Militare del Ramusio." Verona: Boninus de Boninis, 17 February 1483. First edition in Italian and a fine and large copy of this handsomely illustrated book on the art of war which contains the earliest technical illustrations in a printed book. The first edition, issued in 1472 in Latin, contained only 95 woodcuts. "Roberto Valturio, a native of Rimini, after having been Apostolic Secretary in Rome, became technical adviser and engineer to Sigismondo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini. He composed his book 'On Military Matters' about 1460. After wide circulation in manuscript, it was printed in 1472… "The historical importance of the De Re Militari lies in the fact that it is the first book printed with illustrations of a technical or scientific character depicting the progressive engineering ideas of the author's own time. The woodcuts illustrate the equipment necessary for the military and naval engineer; they include revolving gun turrets, platforms and ladders for sieges, paddle-wheels, a diver's suit, a lifebelt, something resembling a tank, pontoon and other bridges, a completely closed boat that could be half submerged, etc.…The Verona Valturius and its reprints were the handbooks of the military leaders of the Renaissance, and Leonardo da Vinci, when acting as chief engineer to Cesare Borgia, possessed a copy and borrowed some of its designs."-Printing & the Mind of Man 10-(1st ed. of 1472). This is one of the rare copies which contains the additional six unsigned leaves at the beginning (the first is a blank) with a dedicatory letter from Ramusio to Roberto de Aragonia. The printer Bonino de Boninis (1454-1528), a cleric from Ragusa (today Croatia), had worked at Venice in 1479 with Andreas de Paltasichis, from whom he acquired his typographic knowledge. During his stay in Verona, from 1481 to 1483, Bonino printed not less than seven editions, the Italian Valturius being the last. Afterwards, he moved to Brescia, where he produced another ca. 35 editions, mainly of humanist and legal texts, before he finished his career as a bookseller and publisher in Lyon.PROVENANCE: 1. The first two end leaves contain notes and ownership inscriptions in ink by a 16th-century Italian hand, verse of Ariosto (Orl. fur., 1516-1532, XXXIII, 44), and a table of contents (in another hand); on the last flyleaf and pastedown are several pen trials and two grotesque drawings of the same time, in dark ink. The excerpted verse from Ariosto are the following: "Ecco, mal grado de la lega, prende / Milano, e accorda il giovene Sforzesco. / Ecco Borbon che la città difende / pel re di Francia dal furor tedesco. / Eccovi poi, che mentre altrove attende / ad altre magne imprese il re Francesco, / né sa quanta superbia e crudeltade / usino i suoi, gli è tolta la cittade."2. The copy belonged to Ladislao Reti, with his bookplate on pastedown. Reti (1901-73), was an Italian chemist, industrialist, scholar, and a great expert on Leonardo da Vinci. A fine and large copy with wide margins. An additional quire of five leaves bound in at the front, first leaf with manuscript index up to fol. 173. Some slight staining, marginal tears at leaves e1 and r3, some worming to covers and first and last few leaves. ? Dibner, Heralds of Science, 172-(1st ed.). Goff V-90. Klebs 1015.1.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2016-11-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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