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Mathematical Treasure: Euclid’s Elementa Geometriae Printed by Ratdolt

Author(s): 
Cynthia J. Huffman (Pittsburg State University)

This 1482 version (Linda Hall Library call number QA31.E8587 1482) was the first edition of Euclid’s Elements to be printed, and was actually one of the first printed mathematical texts. It is in Latin, published by Erhard Ratdolt on May 25, 1482, in Venice, based on Campanus’ translation of Euclid’s Elements from Arabic, and contains 15 books rather than 13. Based on the number of surviving copies in libraries, Ratdolt printed more than the typical average 15th-century run of 300 copies. The copy at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology was once owned by George Sarton, who is considered the founder of the history of science as an academic discipline. It contains marginal notes in Latin and bookworm holes.

Page from 1482 printing of Euclid's Elements.

Diagram from 1482 printing of Euclid's Elements.

The Pythagorean Theorem is Proposition 46 instead of 47.

Pythagorean Theorem in 1482 printing of Euclid's Elements.

Proof of Pythagorean Theorem in 1482 printing of Euclid's Elements.

For more images of Euclid’s Elements, printed by Ratdolt in 1482, visit the page “Mathematical Treasures - Ratdolt's Euclid's Elements” by Frank J. Swetz in Convergence.

Images in this article were taken by the author at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology and are used with permission. The images may be downloaded and used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study, provided the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology is credited as the source. For other uses, check out the LHL Image Rights and Reproductions policy.

References

O'Connor, J. J., and E. F. Robertson. “Campanus of Novara.” MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Campanus.html.

Norman, Jeremy. “Euclid's Elements, the Most Famous Textbook Ever Published (May 25, 1482).” http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=382.

Swetz, Frank J. “Mathematical Treasure: Ratdolt's Euclid's Elements.” Convergence (August 2012), DOI:10.4169/loci003904. http://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/mathematical-treasure-ratdolts-euclids-elements.

“George Sarton.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Sarton.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Cynthia J. Huffman (Pittsburg State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Euclid’s Elementa Geometriae Printed by Ratdolt," Convergence (January 2017)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED

Mathematical Treasures: The Linda Hall Library