1512 De Inventoribus Rerum Libri Tres by Polydore Vergil. And an influential poem by Sabellicus appended to the text.


A 1512 edition of Polydore Vergil's groundbreaking De Inventoribus Rerum, a history exploring the first appearances of technologies and ideas using classical texts for scholarship; while this genre (heurmatology) was popular in ancient times, Vergil re-popularized the study of firsts/beginnings in the Renaissance and De Inventoribus Rerum was reprinted many times, in many languages (it's first printing being in 1499).

This edition of De Inventoribus Rerum is in the original, non-expanded form (in 1521, in response to Luther's movement, Vergil added many chapters regarding theology).

This edition does have a poem of Marcus Antonius Coccius Sabellicus, at the rear, which Polydore claimed was a great influence on his idea to write this work.

About the Work -

Brian P. Copehaver wrote an exemplary work on De Inventoribus Rerum, The Historiography of Discovery in the Renaissance..., his argument being that De Inventoribus Rerum was an important and influential work of the Renaissance. He wrote:

"Polydore's effort to display a number of points of view on the origin of music is typical of the first three books of De Inventoribus, which contain chapters on cosmology, human origins, philosophy, astrology, geometry, weights and measures, numbers, medicine, pharmacy, magic, divination, time-keeping, books and writing, memory, the horse, metallurgy, coining, unguents, glass, sculpture, painting, agriculture, arboriculture, viniculture, animals, textiles, architecture, towns, monuments, and many other topics of interest to students of the historiography of science, technology, and medicine in the Renaissance. For all of them Polydore used essentially the same method: he tried to list and to sort out the various priority claims to be found in a most impressive range of sources, 155 titles by 88 classical, patristic, and early medieval writers."

Bibliographic Details -

Universal Short Title Catalogue reference number 684703. This edition somewhat scarce, while their are 20 copies listed, almost all are in Germany, only one in the U.S. noted (NYPL).

Worldcat OCLC reference number 213409499 and 1101332781.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 20 x 14 x 1.5 cm, octavo. Mottled leather binding. Boards with double blind fillet outer frame. Board edges rolled with gilt tool. Spine with five raised bands; five compartments richly gilt with roll tool repeating, one compartment with the title in gilt on red morocco and the date at the base of the spine in gilt. Turn-ins with a roll of gilt. Marbled endpapers. Text block edges painted red.

Pages - viii, LXIIII

Collation - A4, B8, C4, D8, E4, F8, G4, H8, I4, K4, L8, M4

Condition -

See pictures. Some edge/corner/joint wear, with a little rubbing to the boards. A hint of starts of cracks at the top of joints. Ex-libris bookplate on pastedown. Some bookseller notes to blank endpapers.

Some moisture mark intrusions occasionally throughout. Pages are toned, with some rust spots throughout. Occasional thumb, dog-eared corner, candle ember spot, etc. throughout. Title page with an inscription in an old hand. Several small worm holes in text block. Silk ribbon present but disconnected. Fore-edge of second-to-last leaf repaired, and last leaf with backing. Graphite note on printer at colophon.

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