[Tetrabiblos]. Hoc in libro nunquam ante typis aeneis in lucem edita haec insunt. [Greek:] KLAUDIOU ptolemaiou plousieos tetrabiblos sotaxis, pros Syron adelfos. TOU AUTOU karpos, pros ton auton Syros. [Latin:] Claudii Ptolemaei Pelusiensis libri quatuor compositi Syro fratro. Eiusdem fructus librorum suorum, sive Centum dicta, ad eundem Syrum. Traductio in linguam Latinam librorum Ptolemaei duum priorum, & ex aliis praecipuorum aliquot locorum, Ioachimi Camerarii Pabergensis. Conuersio Centum dictorum Ptolemaei in Latinum Iouiani Pontani. Annotatiunculae eiusdem Ioachimi ad libros priores duos iudiciorum Ptol. Matthaei Guarimberti Parmensis opusculum de radiis & aspectibus planetarum. Aphorismi Astrologici Ludouici de Rigiis ad patriarcham Constantinopolitanum.

Norimbergae [Nürnberg], (Apud Ioannem Petreium), 1535.

4to. Bound in a beautiful contemporary full blindstamped vellum binding over wooden boards. Boards with blindstamped borders with portraits of Marcus, Johannes, Mattheus, Lucas, inside which large square blindstamped centre-piece with floriated decorations and small portriats. Three raised bands to back. Brass clasps to boards partially preserved. A bit of overall wear and general use. Overall a very nice and tight copy. Internally very nice and clean with only a bit of occasional minor brownspotting and soiling. Two leaves with a spot to outer margin (looks like remain of wax or lacquer), far from affecting text. Last four leaves of Greek text with dampstaining. First leaf of Latin text with coloured initial and a couple of red and green underlinings. Woodcut initials. First ab. 10 leaves of text with neat contemporary annotations in Latin and Greek. (6),59, (4) ff. + 84, (24) ff. (The four leaves in between the Greek and the Latin text being the title page: "Librorum de Iudiciis Astrologicis quatuor, duo priores conuersi in linguam Latinam à Ioachimo Camerario Pabergense. Annotatiunculae in eosdem. Aliquot loci translati de tertio & quarto libro Ptolemaei, per eundem Camerarium.", two leaves of preface/dedication, dated 1535, one blank).

The very rare first Greek/Latin edition, i.e. the editio princeps of the Greek text and the first edition of Camerarius' seminal translation into Latin (directly from the Greek), of Ptolemy's famous textbook of astrology known under the name "Tetrabiblos" or "Quadripartitum", derived from its four books, the work which "ranks as the Bible of Astrology" (Stillwell) and which Ptolemy himself considered the natural complement to his "Almagest": "as the latter enables one to predict the positions of the heavenly bodies, so the former expounds the theory of their influences on terrestrial things." (D.S.B. XI:198). The present edition also contains the editio princeps of the Greek text of the "Karpos", or "Centiloquium" (because of its 100 aphorisms), erroneously attributed to Ptolemy, as well as Pontano's famous Latin version of it.

The "Tetrabiblos" is considered one of, if not the, most important surviving ancient texts on astrology, and its impact and influence on this field has been immense. It was by far the most popular astrological work of Antiquity and it also greatly influenced the Islamic world, the Medieval Latin West, and the Renaissance. It was reprinted continuously for centuries, and its great popularity is often attributed to the fact that it is a textbook on the art of astrology itself and a "scientific" defense of it rather than a mere manual instructing lay people on how to practice the art.

"Of Ptolemy's genuine works the most germane to and significant for our investigation is his "Tetrabiblos", "Quadripartium", or four books on the control of human life by the stars... In the "Tetrabiblos" the art of astrology receives sanction and exposition from perhaps the ablest mathematician and closest scientific observer of the day or at least from one who seemed so for succeeding generations. Hence from that time on astrology was able to take shelter from any criticism under the aegis of his authority..." (Thorndike I:111).
As opposed to the "Karpos", almost all research points to the fact that the "Tetrabiblon" must genuinely be by Ptolemy, and as such, it is to be considered of the greatest importance, not only to astrology, the history and impact of the science, but also to astronomy and to the understanding of the man who wrote one of the most important astronomical works of all times. In the "Tetrabiblos" Ptolemy first discusses the validity of the art of judicial astrology, and the introductory chapters are devoted to defending astrology against charges that it is uncertain and useless. According to Ptolemy, the laws of astronomy are beyond dispute, but the art of predicting human affairs from the movement of the stars should be attacked using more reason than that, and his main argument is that one should not reject the art itself merely because it can be abused, and frequently is, by impostors, or because it is an art not yet fully developed and may be difficult to handle properly. In book I Ptolemy goes on to explain the technical concepts of astrology, in book II, the influences on the earth in general, and in books II and IV, the influences on human life. "Although often dependent on earlier authorities, Ptolemy often develops his own dogma. The discussion in books III and IV is confined to what can be deduced from a man's horoscope..." (D.S.B. XI:198).

"The great influence of the "Tetrabiblos" is shown not only in medieval Arabic commentaries and Latin translations, but more immediately in the astrological writings of the declining Roman Empire, when such astrologers as Hephaestion of Thebes, Paul of Alexandria, and Julius Firmicus Maternus cite it as a leading authoritative work. Only the opponents of astrology appear to have remained ignorant of the "Tetrabiblos", continuing to make criticisms of the art which do not apply to Ptolemy's presentation of it or which had been specifically answered by him." (Thorndike I: 115-16).

Camerarius's translation of the "Tetrabiblon", here printed for the first time, is probably the most important and influential of the many Latin versions of the text. It is considered the best, most widely used, and most important for the spreading of Ptolemaean astrology in the Renaissance, where this came to play a great role at the universities and beyond. "Melanchton never doubted the scientific accuracy of astrology. For instance, in 1535 Joachim Camerarius' edition of Ptolemy's "Tetrabiblos" was warmly received by Melanchton; in the same year he began lecturing on Ptolemy's work at Wittenberg and stressed the scientific character of the work in his opening address. And in the following year he commented on the second book, beginning with an exhortation to appreciate the philosophical arguments of the first book..." (Stefano Caroti in: Paolo Zambelli edt., "Astrologi hallucinati" Stars and the End of the World in Luther's Time, 1986, p. 113).

It is widely accepted that it is the present first Greek/Latin-edition, i.e. the editio princeps of the Greek text together with Camerarius' Latin version of it, that has played the most dominant role in the spreading and interpreting of Ptolemy's astrology in the Renaissance. Astrology, as derived from Classical Antiquity, with Ptolemy as the greatest exponent of them all, came to play a seminal role in Renaissance understanding of both exact sciences and philosophy, and thus this period witnessed a huge number of discussions and interpretations of astrology in general, but of the astrology of Ptolemy's "Tetrabiblion" in particular. Many of the main proponents of Ptolemy's astrology in the Renaissance are known specifically to have owned or read the present Greek/Latin edition and refer to Camerarius' Latin version and to the original Greek text which had now become available for the first time.

Order-nr.: 42132

DKK 150.000,00