1550 Facilima et Exactissima Ratio Extrahendi Radicum Quadratam & Cubicam, Nicolaus Medler. Wittenberg.


A rare 16th century Mathematics work, from the Lutheran professor Nicolaus Medler, on how to calculate cube roots. This copy is bound wonderfully, and was withdrawn from the library of Erwin Tomash (focused on The History of Computing) and can be found in the library catalog.

Note: this is a short work, please review pagination and collation (page count).

About the Author -

A Lutheran theologian and reformer. Medler was a preacher, parish official, and math teacher, among other roles. His biography is long, but some highlights include preacher at Wenceslas Church, preacher at Naumburg Cathedral, teacher at Anstadt and Hof, Superintendent of thirty-two churches, and "court preacher' in Bernberg to Prince Wolfgang von Anhalt. He received his master's degree and doctorate in theology from the University of Wittenberg. It is thought that he wrote part of the school regulations for the Wittenberg order, which were confirmed by Martin Luther. His close proximity, and advanced participation in the church, indicate he probably personally knew Martin Luther.

About the Printer -

As printer in Wittenberg, Viet Creutzer (Diet Kreutzer) printed many protestant works including those by Luther and Melanchthon (eg. Main Articles of Christian Doctrine, or Loci Theologici). Records indicate Cruetzer printed between 1541 and 1563.

About this Work -

A stamp on the flyleaf indicates the bookbinder, "Lobstein-Laurenghet", perhaps referring to the French binder Alain Lobstein. The small titling on the spine is wonderfully executed, and will be very helpful in the library which it will reside, reading "N. MEDLER - RATIO EXTRAHENDI RADICEM QUADRATEM. - WITT 1550"

This copy from the Erwin Tomash library sale (Forum Auctions) of March 2020. Tomash collected and cataloged an in-depth library focused on The History of Computing.

OCLC records three numbers associated with this book (6547129, 187151733, 1156249710), for a total of eight copies in the world's libraries. Although, the German universities claim five copies, and I've noticed a tendency for the German system to claim the same copy at several locations on OCLC.

At the time of listing this item, there are no 16th century Medler works available for purchase on the market (Vialibri search June, 2020)

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 15 x 9.5 x .5 cm, 8to. Paper measures approx. 14.75 x 9.25 cm.. Leather spine with marbled paper covering the boards. Title in gilt along spine (vertically) with several double fillets in gilt marking compartments.

Pagination - (2), 14, [2], (2). A flyleaf and a blank endpaper at each end of the binding, 7 printed leaves, and one blank 16th century leaf at rear (A8).

Collation - A8 (A8 blank).

Condition -

See pictures. Binding has the slightest hint of wear at corners. Erased graphite number on pastedown, and binder's stamp at top.

Some ink spots to title page; also, a number written mid-page, no text affected, and a thumb (in ink) at bottom edge. One ink spot at fore-edge going along entire text block. Rust spot (approx. 4 cm.) at top of second leaf. Margins are nice and wide. Fifth and sixth leaf have rust spots at bottom-edge (no text affected). Some hints of thumbing throughout, but light. Rust spot on blank last 16th century leaf, which has ghosted onto last page of printing (roughly 1 cm around).

Very well-bound and handsome with its gilt title along spine. Not brittle, in a good environment this book is ready for centuries more of use.

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