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Bernardino Baldi "De firmamento et aquis opusculum", 1595.
Baldi, Bernardino, 1553-1617
Greek, Modern (1453- )
1 v. 28.5 x 20.5 cm (161 folios [4 are blank])
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Unpublished and previously unknown treatise by Renaissance humanist Bernardino Baldi, of Urbino, who is best known for his Vite dei matematici (1587-95). The text concerns the second day of creation according to Genesis 1:6 and considers Scriptural accounts in relationship to ancient, medieval, and Renaissance interpretations in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, with quotations in Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic; and includes the author's corrections and textual additions in the margins that in some cases are quite extensive (e.g. fols. 19v, 152r, 160r-161r). The treatise contains the following six sections: (1) fol. 1r, title page; (2) fol. 3r-7v, Bernardino Baldi's dedication to the Jesuit theologian Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), dated 6 April ("VIII. Id .Apr.") 1595; (3) fols. 8r-9v, list of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Christian, and other authorities cited; (4) fols. 10r-11r, chapter headings, 1-42; (5) fol. 12r, Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic translations of the Latin "caeli enarrant gloriam Dei et opera manuum eius annunciat firmamentum" [Psalms 18(19):2]; and (6) fols. 13r-161v, De firmamento et aquis opusculum, including the date on fol. 154r ("Kal. Aprilis anno ab incarnatione domini 1595"). Fols. 1v, 2r-v, 12v are blank.
Baldi uses the title of abbot of Guastalla in dedicating the treatise. The name of the initial dedicatee in the manuscript, as written in 1595, was erased in two places (fols. 3r and 6v) and is unreadable under ultraviolet light; the name was replaced with that of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine [Bellarmino] (1542-1621), the Jesuit theologian who had been Rector of the Collegio Romano in 1595, became a cardinal in 1599, and played a role in the Galileo case in 1615-16. The text was to have 42 chapters, according to the table of contents, but ends incomplete with chapter 30.
1r-161v "“Bernardini Baldi Urbinatis Abbatis Guastaliae De Firmamento Et Aquis Opusculum. MDXCV. Illustrissimo et Reuerendisimo Domino Ruberto Bellarmino S.R.E. Cardinali amplissimo Bernardinus Baldus Abbas Guastillie S.P.D. Diuinus ille uir atque idem Summus Pontifex Gregorius qui in propter sapienter gloriam tum etiam ob res in Ecclesia Dei preclarissime gestas..." Explicit: "...quatenus humani rationes [ ] aperte affirmamus//"
Two watermarks: a circle divided in half by a vertical line (similar to Briquet, no. 2929, used in Bergamo, 1590; and an acorn in a circle (not similar to any of the watermarks incorporating a gland in Briquet, nos. 7430-7439). Original foliation in brown ink, written in Arabic numbers (1-149) for the main text only, excluding prefatory materials; the entire manuscript was refoliated in pencil (1-162). The paper is unruled but has three equidistant vertical creases to form the writing area and outer margin, which is always on the left side, both for rectos and versos.
Concerning Baldi, see Paul Lawrence Rose, The Italian Renaissance of Mathematics: Studies on Humanists and Mathematicians from Petrarch to Galileo, Travaux d'Humanisme et Renaissance, no. 145 (Geneva: Droz, 1975); Dizionario biografico degli Italiani.
Italy, 18th century. Half green-stained calf over binder's board covered in paper that has been painted in faux wood-grain pattern; sewn on five raised bands, separated by gold-tooled bands and fleurons; end bands. Paper flyleaves with a raised hand over the letter B and surmounted by a four-leaf clover or flower. Spine title (gold stamped on red morocco): "BALDI DE FIRMA."
Of unknown early and intermediate provenance. It has an unidentified cardinal's stamp on fol. 3r, and old shelf marks on the front pastedown ("P.11" and "23") and flyleaf ("MS. 632").
Purchase, 2006. AM 2006-120.
Also available in an electronic version.