FIRMICUS MATERNUS, JULIUS; et al. De nativitatibus [and other texts]. 39 woodcut text illustrations. ;  leaves, including blanks E6 and K10, with individual sections bound out of order in Volume 2 (Greek text of Aratus and pseudo-Proclus first, followed by Latin translation, with the Astronomicon of Manilius at the end). Greek and Roman types. One volume bound in 2. Folio, 298x204 mm, 20th-century buckram, and 307x213 mm, 18th-century vellum boards; occasional minor marginal soiling, scattered early marginalia, general title soiled and 3-line colophon excised and restored on last leaf in Volume 1, light dampstaining in lower inner corners in Volume 2, still overall an attractive set. Bookplates of Paul Schmidtchen, his pencil notes on endpapers, and small handwritten monogram in ink on first page in each volume. (Venice: Aldus Manutius, June &  October 1499)
Estimate $20,000 - 30,000
first editionof a compilation of ancient Roman and Greek writings on astrology, astronomy, and meteorology,the first substantially illustrated book from the aldine press.It contains the second edition of the work by Firmicus, "the most comprehensive text-book of astrology of ancient times" (Sarton), composed in the mid-4th century A.D. and first printed in 1497; and the seventh edition of the Astronomicon of Manilius, a 1st-century A.D. poem on astrology first printed circa 1473-74. Also included are thefirst editions in the original greekof the Phaenomena of Aratus, a 3rd-century B.C. poem on the constellations, celestial phenomena, and weather signs; scholia on Aratus attributed to the 4th-century A.D. scholar Theon; and the Sphaera attributed to the 5th-century A.D. Neoplatonist philosopher Proclus. The texts by Aratus and pseudo-Proclus are accompanied by Latin translations. The illustrations are derived from those in the 1482 Venice edition of Hyginus printed by Erhard Ratdolt. While a few earlier Aldines had included one or two woodcuts, this compilation was the first production of the press to integrate multiple images in the text, serving as a preparatory exercise for the extravagantly illustrated Hypnerotomachia Poliphili printed in December 1499. Hain-Copinger *14559; GW 9981; BMC V, 560; Goff F191; ISTC if00191000; Renouard, page 20(3); Sarton I, 354.