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Important history of ancient astronomy, with chapters on Egyptian, Chaldean and Persian astronomy

BAILLY, Jean-Sylvain.
Histoire de l'astronomie ancienne, depuis son origine jusqu'a l'établissement de l'École d'Alexandrie.
Paris, Debure brothers, 1775. 4to. With 3 numbered folding engraved plates. Beautifully bound in contemporary gold-tooled red morocco, each board with coat of arms of Simon-Pierre Merard de Saint-Just in the centre, marbled endpapers. In modern slipcase covered with marbled paper.
€ 25,000
First edition of a history of astronomy from prehistoric times to the Alexandrian school in the third century BC, by Jean-Sylvain Bailly. It covers not only European and biblical sources but also the cosmographical concepts of Chinese, Egyptian, Persian and Chaldean astronomers. Some of the surviving artefacts that provided a basis for his studies are illustrated in the plates, which are designed to fold out so that one can view them while paging through the text.
This copy was originally owned by and bound for Bailly's most important contemporary biographer, his friend Simon-Pierre Mérard de Saint-Just, who published Eloge historique de Jean-Sylvain Bailly (1794). His arms appear on the binding. In very good condition, with only a few minor spots. The binding also very good, only slightly worn around the corners and hinges. An important work on ancient astronomy, beautifully bound for the author's biographer.
DSB I, pp. 400-402; Houzeau & Lancaster 22; Smith, "Jean-Sylvain Bailly; astronomer, mystic, revolutionary", in: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s. 44 (1954), pp. 427-538.
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Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Bindings
Middle east & islamic world  >  Medicine & Science
Science & technology  >  Astronomy & Mathematics