Carnegie Mellon University

May Highlight

Euclid Elementa Geometriae1482 Euclid's Geometry

Euclid.  Elementa geometriae. Venice, 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 originally written in Greek 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. 1080–1152), the Italian Campano (ca. 1220–1296) and the German Ratdolt (ca. 1447–1527) made the book accessible to a western audience, adding their own mathematical ideas. This is the first book that successfully printed mathematical diagrams, using woodcuts.  

Purchased by Henry Posner Sr. (1888-1976) on December 29, 1954 from H.P. Kraus, this was one of the first landmark books in the history of science in the Posner Collection. The history of science became Mr. Posner's lifetime collecting focus.

Selected by Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon University