Oppenheim, Jacob Kobel, 24 mars 1518.
Folio [302 x 208 mm] of (14) ll., 74, (50) ll. A few leaves slightly browned or stained. Abacus, calendar and tables printed in red and black. Title printed in an engraved frame decorated with coats of arms. Bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards, marks of clasps and cabochons. Contemporary binding restored. Green cloth box.
First edition of Stoeffler’s main work, dedicated to the revision of the calendar. Fairfax Murray, German, 403; Houzeau & Lancaster 13730; Stillwell, Science, 112; Wellcome 6102; Zinner 1101; Adams S-1884; Rosenwald L/C 638; Benzing, Koebel, 58; Smith I, 327.
The volume contains the important work of the famous professor of astronomy of Tubingen Johann Stoeffler (1452-1531), wonderfully printed by Oppenheim’s first printer Jacob Kobel (1460-1533), renowned for his remarkable typographical creations. Stoeffler had been assigned at the Council of Lateran to revise the calendar and the present work expounds the result of his works. He is one of the first who showed how the Julian calendar could be harmonized with astronomical events.
In his important treatise, Stoeffler reveals various propositions related to the zodiac, eclipses, the leap year, the different Greek and Roman calendars, the movable celebration of Eastern. Reflections on subjects as varied as medicine, notably phlebotomy, geometry or arithmetic are also tackled in this book. Another part is related to sundials and instruments measuring time. The dedication to Maximilian I is due to J.A. Brassinacus.
The present work “is prized partly on account of the excellence of the tables calculated by Stoeffler … one of the most eminent astronomers of the age, and also for the small woodcuts at the foot of each page of the Calendar, representing the occupations of the husbandman throughout the year” (G.R. Redgrave, “Some Early Book-Illustrations of the Oppenheim Press”, Transactions of the Bibliographical Society III, pp. 71-80).
The treatise is richly decorated with beautiful woodcuts : 24 small woodcuts of towns in the Abacus, 12 woodcuts representing the daily work of each month of the year and 12 engraved medallions representing the signs of the zodiac in the calendar, 63 engraved diagrams with the sun and moon eclipses, and finally 4 full-page engravings representing astronomical instruments in red and black at the end of the volume.
A wide-margined copy of this compilation of astronomical, cosmological, medical and historical knowledge of one of the great professors of astronomy from the Renaissance.