Two (2) Unpublished Aristotelian Metaphysics Treatise in Latin (1713)

1713 - Ptolemaic Astronomy Manuscripts - France

Scholarly Natural Science Copernican Universe

Date: 1713

Paris, 1713-1716. Two unpublished scholarly manuscripts written by Stephanus Antonius Dheus, a graduate of the Navarre College, examining in the first volume Aristotelian physics and metaphysics, and in the second volume, Ptolemaic astronomy and subsequent revolutionary observations by Copernicus and Brahe, and natural science theories (then called natural philosophy) such as movement, weight, light, Earth, meteors, and Aristotle's "Anima" theory whereby every living thing was guided by a soul of sorts. 8vo. Two volumes. Each volume is a two-part work; each is inscribed and dated by the author. Together the works encompass 986 pages in manuscript (pagination is penned alternately to rectos only, each part numbered separately, thus numbering shows half values.) All text is in Latin. Illustrated with approximately thirty small in-text manuscript diagrams. Full calf bindings, five raised bands, elaborate gilt tooling, red title label to spine, marbled endpapers. Volumes measure approximately 11 x 16,5 x 3,5 cm. A scarce eighteenth century academica from an historic institution. Aristotelian physics, which is the earliest known speculative theory of physics, prevailed for almost two millennia. Following the work of pioneer scientists such as Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Descartes and Newton (at least three of whom named in the present volume), it became generally accepted that Aristotelian physics was neither correct nor viable. Nonetheless, Aristotle's hypotheses survived as a scholastic pursuit well into the seventeenth century. An exhaustive investigation and scholarly deliberation of ancient science originating from Aristotle and Ptolemy, many of whose traditional philosophies falling under scrutiny and thus refined during the scientific revolution, the writer of the present volumes, being a sagacious academician in that era, presents numerous topics for analysis. First Volume Titles: Commentarius In Metaphysicam Aristotelis. [&] Commentarius In Universam Aristotelis Physicam. [Memorandum on Aristotle's Metaphysics. [&] Remarks on Aristotle's Universal Physics. A two part work, 490 pages including a two page-index.] A comprehensive study in diminutive cursive script dissecting and debating Aristotle's metaphysics forms the first part of this volume. The writer's "Disputatio Proaemiati" begins with the theory of causes and principles of all things. Other topics include human intellect, the study of substance, existence, God, physical properties or nature of matter, infinity, cosmology, and more. This work is 136 pages in length, and is inscribed "Finis..." on 31 July 1713. The second part, 352 pages, in essence deals with what is known today as classical mechanics - the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the influence of a system of forces. With the use of various apparatuses from his own time, through practical applications and purposeful experimentation, the scholar ponders and tests scientific theories first introduced in Aristotle's physics. Numerous manuscript diagrams illustrate early methodology and discoveries. Drawings include barometrical instruments, a cannon firing an explosive, a balance scale for weighing, pendulum movement, pully systems, and more. The final leaf is inscribed by the author with the completion date of 4 February 1716. The study of the motion of bodies is an ancient one, making classical mechanics one of the oldest and largest subjects in science, engineering and technology. Aristotle, and other Greek philosophers, may have been the first to maintain the idea that "everything happens for a reason" and that theoretical principles can assist in the understanding of nature. While to a modern reader, many of these preserved ideas come forth as eminently reasonable, there was a conspicuous lack of both mathematical theory and controlled experiment, as we know it. These latter became decisive factors in developing classical mechanics - the system of physics which was started by Isaac Newton and other 17th century natural philosophers. The science was also based upon the earlier astronomical theories of Johannes Kepler, the precise observations of Tycho Brahe and the studies of terrestrial projectile motion of Galileo. Traditionally, classical mechanics was divided into three main branches: Statics (equilibrium and its relation to forces), Dynamics (motion and its relation to forces), and Kinematics (the implications of observed motions without regard for circumstances causing them). [The term classical mechanics was not coined until the early 20th century.] Second Volume Titles: Brevis Institutio Astronomica juxta hyppotheses Ptolomei Copericus & Tyconis. Physica partaris de Corporibus in particulari de Mundo. [Concise Dissertation on Astronmy According to Ptolemy, Copernicus & Tycho. Physical Properties, of the Earth in Particular. A two part work, 496 pages combined.] The first part of this volume is 130 pages and examines early astronomy, beginning with Ptolemy's geocentric planetary hypotheses based on epicycles, with a diagram to illustrate the ancient belief of a stationary Earth at the center, surrounded by an Empyreal Heaven, other heavens, planetary spheres, a belt of air and one of fire. Another lovely manuscript drawing shows a Ptolemaic armillary sphere (spherical astrolabe, celestial sphere) with Earth at its center. The accompanying text mentions "Elementa Cosmographia," presumably referring to "Sphaera mundi: hoc est, Elementa cosmographiae..." by Petrus Ryff (or Ryffius), published in 1593. Zodiacs, eclipses, celestial bodies, and planetary orbit are discussed according to Ptolemaic theory, before also presenting Copernicus' revolutionary model of the universe, with the Sun at the centre of the Solar System. The latter is examined at length over some 30 pages. Finally, twelve pages are devoted to the works of Tycho Brahe whose astronomical and planetary observations were even more accurate and comprehensive. This study of formative and revolutionary astronomy is inscribed 'Finis' on 27 February 1716. A compendious treatment of numerous subjects in the realm of physical science, the second part of this volume comprises 366 pages of text. Many of which derive from Aristotle's "Physicia," a small sampling of the theories examined include, "motu myderum" (movement of the stars and possibly other bodies in the galaxy), water and the sea, the planet Earth, climate and heat, humidity, "gravitate & levitate" weight and (weightlessness), gravitational movement, magnetic force, reflection and refraction of light, and so forth. Some 32 pages are devoted to contemporary philosophies and knowledge of meteors. The writer also remarks on Aristotle's "Anima" concept of a soul in living beings including plants, on and "anima sentiente" which adds sentiment, opinion, thought, feeling, will, and so forth to the hypotheses, specific addressing "phantasia" (imagination), "estimativa" (instinct), and memory. The final leaf of this volume is inscribed by the author, "Finis... Domino Le Sarmage Celebrovimo Physica Professore in Regia Navarra" with the completion date of 27 July 1716, and revealing that he was a student of the Collège de Navarre in Paris. Aristotle (384-322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government, and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. On physical science, Aristotle's views virtually shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher". His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 100 - c.170) was a Greek writer, known as a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. Ptolemy's "Almagest" is the only surviving comprehensive ancient treatise on astronomy. Ptolemy's model, like those of his predecessors, was geocentric and was almost universally accepted until the appearance of simpler heliocentric models during the scientific revolution. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Renaissance and Reformation era mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe, likely independently of Aristarchus of Samos, who had formulated such a model some eighteen centuries earlier. The publication of Copernicus' model in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, was a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making an important contribution to the Scientific Revolution. Tycho Brahe, born Tyge Ottesen Brahe (1546-1601), was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in the then Danish peninsula of Scania. Well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer and alchemist, he has been described as "the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts." His observations were some five times more accurate than the best available observations at the time. The College of Navarre (Collège de Navarre), founded by Queen Joan I of Navarre in 1305, was one of the colleges of the historic University of Paris, and was renowned for its library. It began with three departments - the arts with 20 students, philosophy with 30 students, and theology with 20 students. Upon the queen's death, provision was made also for the scholars' support, 4 Paris sous weekly for the artists, 6 for the logicians and 8 for the theologians. These allowances were to continue until the graduates held benefices of the value respectively of 30, 40 and 60 livres. Students were required to speak and write only in Latin and all subjects had to be learned by rote [memorization]. Only after graduation, were students allowed to write using their own words or discuss the subjects. The College was suppressed at the time of the French Revolution, its library dispersed and its archives lost. Its buildings were assigned to the École polytechnique by Napoleon in 1805.

Mild age-toning and wear to extremities, otherwise in very good condition, beautifully preserved, clean and bright.


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