PIONEERING WORK ON NUMBER SYSTEMS
2ND KNOWN COPY OF ED. FROM AUTHORīS HOME CITY
BRONCKHORST, Jan van (Johann NOVIOMAGUS). De numeris libri II. Quorum prior logisticen, et veterum numerandi consuetudinem: posterior theoremata numerorum complectitur.
Deventer, Theodorus de Borne, 1551. With a woodcut publisher's device on title-page and a larger version on the last page, full-page woodcut with 22 finger notations, about 20 woodcut illustrations in text, 1 decorated woodcut initial.
(2) SNELLIUS, Willibrord. De re nummaria liber singularis.
[Leiden], Officina Plantiniana (Raphelengius), 1613. With woodcut printer's device on the title-page and woodcut initials in text.
(3) SCALIGER, Joseph Juste. De re nummaria dissertatio, liber posthumus.
[Leiden], Officina Plantiniana (Raphelengius), 1616. With woodcut printer's device on the title-page and woodcut initials in text. 3 works in 1 volume. Small 8vo (15.5 x 10.5 cm). Half calf (ca. 1800), marbled sides, gold-tooled spine.
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Second recorded copy of the fourth edition, the first published in the Netherlands, of a pioneering work on number systems and arithmetic. It first appeared in Paris in 1539 and was reprinted at Cologne in that year and in 1544. It discusses Roman numerals, Greek numerals (which use the letters of the alphabet), our modern Hindoo-Arabic numerals, a finger notation (with a full-page woodcut) and a supposed Chaldean (Syriac-Aramaic) system of linear symbols. It also describes and illustrates the use of an abacus. Jan van Bronckhorst (1494-1570), born in Nijmegen and therefore known as Johann Noviomagus, studied at Rostok and became Rector of the famous Latin school at Deventer. He probably arranged for the printing of the present Deventer edition for use at his own school. The only other copy located is at Columbia University in New York.
Bound with it are first editions of two early 17th-century works on numbers, especially on ancient monetary systems, both printed and published by Plantin's grandsons in Leiden and therefore showing the Plantin device on the title-pages. Snellius (1580-1626) professor of mathematics at Leiden, discusses the weights and values of coins of Greek, Roman and biblical antiquity. Scaliger, the leading scholar of his day, helped to break out of the traditional view of antiquity that centred on Greek and Roman classical civilizations. He never published his present work on ancient Greek and Roman monetary systems, so Snellius saw it through the press after his death.
Very good copies, with corners torn off two leaves in the Bronckhorst, not approaching the text. The second known copy of the first Netherlands edition of a work on number systems, printed in the author's home city.