Nuremberg: Johann Montanus & Ulrich Neuber, 1551.
Folio ( 320 x 200mm) , 3 Parts in one volume, Early Citron Morocco Gilt, Gilt Crest of the Duke of Devonshire on Upper and Lower Covers, title printed in red and black, woodcut ornament on title-page, portrait of the author, preface by Philipp Melanchthon, numerous woodcut illustrations throughout concerning geographical, navigational and astronomical subjects, astronomical instruments and Schoner’s celebrated celestial and terrestrial globes, with 11 woodcut volvelles and 10 leaves with 34 printed discs for use on the volvelles.
A Splendid complete copy of this extremely scarce work.
The First Edition of Shoner’s most important work, his collected Astronomical works published after his death in 1547. This includes the Aequatorium Astronomicum of 1521 the earliest works to contain moveable discs. This original edition, of which there is only one surviving copy, published on his own press at Bamberg, was the inspiration for Peter Apian’s extraordinary Astronomicom Caesareum of 1540.
‘Shoner assembled a printing shop in his house in Bamberg. He himself set the type, carved the woodblocks for the illustrations, and bound the finished product. He also made his own globes and astronomical instruments.’ DSB
Johann Shoner, astrologer, astronomer, geographer, physician and author of forty-six books on these subjects was born in Carlstadt, Franconia in 1477 and received an education at Erfurt. He later taught at the Melanchthon Gymnasium in Nuremberg where he constructed a celestial globe for the Duke of Saxony, Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous (1503- 1554). This globe was constructed with the help of Georg Spalatin and represents a revision and correction of the known earlier globes. His terrestrial globe of 1515, after Martin Waldseemuller was the first printed globe to name the recently discovered continent of America, and his globe of 1524 was the first to describe Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation.
Schoner’s celestial globe of 1533 is the oldest surviving printed celestial globe and is on display at the Science Museum in London. He is considered the most influential early globe maker, establishing Nuremberg as the European centre of the craft,and creating the idea of pairing celestial and terrestrial globes.
The Opera Mathematica opens with two extensive treatises , ‘Isagodes Astralogiae Iudiciariae’ and the ‘Tabulae Astronomicae’. The four following treatises concern the composition and use of celestial and terrestial globes. Schoner’s star catalogue, in the section ‘Coelestis Globi Compositio’ is an adaptioon of the star list published in 1543 by Nicolaus Copernicus in his ‘De Revolutionibus’. The section ‘De Usu Globis Terrestris’ contains a splendid engraving of the author’s globe of 1520.
The text refers to the voyages of Vespucci and mentions that the upper indies had been named ‘Americus’ after him. The voyages of Columbus, Marco Polo, Ferdinand Magellan are discussed and Schoner also mentions Cuba, Florida, Mexico, Darien, Jamaica and North America, referred to as Parias. Three chapters of this work are given entirely to discoveries in the Western Hemisphere, among them ‘ Brasiliae novae terrae annotation.’
The Opera Mathematica is Schoner’s ‘magnum opus’ encapsulating all his theories and most important works.
Perhaps the most influential of the Renaissance scholars, he is responsible for sending the Wittenberg professor, Rheticus to visit Copernicus and was instrumental in the publishing of ‘De Revolutionibus’. The first printed celestial globe was made in Schoner’s workshop in 1515 and he is remembered as one of the most important sixteenth century astronomers and globe makers. A crater on Mars is named in his honour.
This is a particularly splendid copy of the ‘Opera Mathematica’ , a work that is exceedingly scarce and the few copies that have appeared in the last fifty years have often lacked the important volvelles.
Provenance: Chatsworth House, Duke of Devonshire
Zinner 2033; VD16 S3465; Sabin 77805