Antiquariat Jürgen Dinter

Clichthove, Josse

De mystica numerorum significatione opusculum … — Paris 1513

7.500 €

De mystica numerorum significatione opusculum … — Paris, Henri Estienne, 16 December 1513.

First edition

4to (189 x 137 mm). a8 b4 c-f8: 41, (3) leaves. Repair to lower right corner of title-page, see photo. 18th century quarter chagrin, gilt title on spine. Not common: the last copy at auction was the Honeyman copy in 1979.

Woodcut title-border (Schreiber n° II). There is an issue of the book with the title-words only but without woodcut border and without the two lines at the bottom of the page: Venale habetur Parisijs in officina Henrici Stephani chalcographi (ubi impressum est) e regione scholae Decretorum. Schreiber 19 is the issue without border likewise the Honeyman copy. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has also a copy without woodcut border, and it is possible to see there digital copies of both issues. Renouard has no note about the different issues.

Moreover not only the title-page appears in two issues but also the text of quire a, which has minimal differences in the setting. To make it complicate you can not ascribe setting A of the first quire to copies with woodcut border and setting B to those without it – or vice versa: both title-pages appear with both variants of the setting of the text.

One strange thing both issues have in common is the wrong numbering and signatures of leaves c3 to c6: signatures b3-6 instead of c3-6, and leaf numbers 11 to 14 instead of 15 to 18. Strange I think is, that the wrong letter b and the wrong ciphers 14-18 are deleted by hand in all available digital copies of both issues, but corrected by printing the correct letter c and the correct numbers. That means the second print sheet of quire c had to go twice through the press. If you delete the mistakes of these four leaves of all copies by hand, why not correct these also by hand?

¶ ”First (and apparently only) edition of the first separate treatise on the mystery of number to appear in print. Smith [’This is, I believe, the first separate treatise on the mystery of numbers to  appear in print. Paciuolo had included a good deal of such material in his Summa of 1494, and about a century later Bungus published a monumental treatise upon the subject, but Clichthoveus was a pioneer in the publication of a separate work.’] justifies its inclusion in his list of arithmetics as not being ’unrelated to the number theories of the medieval writers and even of the Pythagoreans. Clichthove discusses the religious significance of one and the numbers of the first decade. He also mentions several larger number which were supposed have some scriptural significance, not forgetting, of course, 666, the number of the beast. There is also a chapter, generally unrecognized by writers on the history of the subject, on finger-reckoning.’” – Smith, Rare Arithemtica, 94-95; Renoard 14, n° 5; Renaudet, Préréforme et humanisme à Paris … 64; Thorndike VI, 444: I have not seen this treatise; Stillwell, The awakening interest in science, n° 159; Schreiber, The Estiennes. n° 19.