May Highlight-Posner Center - Carnegie Mellon University

May Highlight

Euclid Elementa Geometriae1482 Euclid's Geometry

Euclid.  Elementa geometriae. [Published by] Erhard Ratdolt, 25 May (Octauis Calen. Jun.) 1482.

In 1482 Erhard Ratdolt produced the first printed edition of Elementa geometriae, Euclid's basic geometry treatise, which was first written in Greek in ca. 300 BCE. This is Adelard of Bath's translation from Arabic to Latin, edited with commentary by Campano di Novarra. The book demonstrates how the Arabs preserved Euclid’s text, and how the English Adelard (ca. 1080 – ca. 1152), the Italian Campano (ca. 1220 – 1296), and the German Ratdolt (ca. 1447 – ca. 1527) made the book accessible to a western audience, adding their own mathematical ideas. Using woodcuts, this is the first book with successfully printed mathematical diagrams.  

Purchased December 29, 1954 from H.P. Kraus of New York, this was one of the first landmark books in the history of science in Mr. Posner’s collection. This would be his collecting focus for the next twenty-five years.

Selected by Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon University

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