Modena: Bartolomeo Soliani, 1745.
FIRST EDITION of Vandelli's contributions to a history of the Accademia dei Lincei, together with the SECOND EDITION (1st ed. 1624) of the Academy's constitutions, the "Praescriptiones". An engraved lynx, symbol of the Academy, appears on the title page of the "Praescriptiones". [See below for an in-depth description.].
“Sincero, Siriaco” -pseudonym of Domenico Vandelli (1732-1815)
Risposta di Ciriaco Sincero Modenese ad una parte della lettera del Signor Simone Cosmopolita scritta ... intorno alle Considerazioni del Signor D. Vandelli ... sopra la notizia de'Lincei data in luce dal Signor G. Bianchi, etc. (Lettera seconda-sesta.-Ultime due lettere.)
Conchae: Apud Mersas Turres, 1746-1747
Quarto: 19.5 x 14 cm. , 232 p. A4, A4bis, B4, C10, D-N8, O10, P8. With a folding engraved plate of a telescope.
FIRST EDITION. Vandelli once again takes up questions regarding the Accademia dei Lincei and the development of the telescope. These letters were written in response to Bianchi’s published criticisms of Vandelli’s “Considerazioni” (Bianchi is here styled “Simone Cosmopolita.”) In the fifth letter, while arguing with Bianchi about Alessandro Tassoni (1565-1635), whom Vandelli asserted was a member of the Academy while Bianchi argued the opposite position, Vandelli mentions Galileo’s telescopic observations of 1610. [See below for more details.]
Bound in contemporary paper boards. The text is in overall fine condition, on crisp paper, with just a few ink spots to the first title page, occ. marginal foxing, and a few stray blemishes. Clean tear (no loss) on leaf N6 in second work. The engraved plate of the telescope is nicely preserved. A second setting of the “Lettera seconda” is bound before the title of the second work.
I. " Praescriptiones Lynceae Accademiae"
Prepared for publication by Johann Faber, the Chancellor General of the Lincean Academy, the "Praescriptiones" articulated the society's founding principles and detailed the nature and scope of its activities. The document affirmed the Academy's core principle, as stated by its founder, Federico Cesi, that scientific knowledge must arise from the observation of facts and the theoretical elaboration of empirical data. The work goes on to describe the formal structure of the society, its publishing program, which by 1625 had produced such pivotal works as Galileo's "Istoria e Dimostrazioni intorno alle Macchie Solari"(1613) and, more recently, his "Il Saggiatore" (1623); and the plan of establishing an international system of laboratory schools that would boast their own gymnasiums, libraries, and printing presses.
Although the society's founder had drawn up earlier documents along these lines, the "Praescriptiones" was the only version to be published. The original 1624 edition is extraordinarily rare. It is represented by only 1 copy in North America (American Philosophical Society.)
Although the Accademia dei Lincei had been founded in 1603, the "Praescriptiones" marked the first time that such a document had been printed. From the time of the Academy's inception, its founder, Federico Cesi, had been reluctant to publish or otherwise publicize the Academy's program, especially while the grand project, an international network of educational colonies, was still in development. This despite the urgings of key members, such as Marc Welser and Francesco Stelluti, who believed that only through publication would prospective members be made aware of what was specifically expected of them. The published "Praescriptiones" were preceded by several "internal" documents of a similar nature, including the "Ristretto delle Costituzioni"(1612) and the "Istruzioni" (1620-1), as well as by Cesi's "Linceografo" (1603), the "Ur text" of the Academy's constitutions. For an exhaustive treatment of the various iterations of the Academy's founding principles and objectives, see Guardo-Orioli, "Cronache e statuti della prima Accademia dei Lincei: Gesta Lynceorum, 'ristretto' delle costituzioni, Praescriptiones Lynceae Accademiae" (2014)
The printed text:
The title page of the 1745 edition of the "Praescriptiones" closely reproduces that of the original (and already in the 18th c. extremely rare) 1624 edition, including the imprint "Interamnae [i.e. Terni], In Typographeio Guerrerii MDCXXIV". However, the typographer has also added a line indicating that the copy of the 1624 edition used for this project was to be found at Rome in the Barberini Library. There could be no more fitting provenance, considering that Maffeo Barberini (Pope Urban VIII) was a crucial supporter of the Lincei and his nephew, Francesco, was counted among the Academy's members.
A remarkable feature of this 1745 edition is the inclusion of a list that had been "written in pen at the end" of the Barberini copy of the 1624 edition, of the names of the Academy's members up to 1625. Thirty-two members are listed chronologically, based on date of admission to the society. The list also records each member's age at the time of admission, positions held within the Academy (chancellor, librarian, censor, etc.), and the years of death of the fourteen deceased members. The list begins with the four founding members (Federico Cesi, Johannes van Heeck, Francesco Stelluti, and Anastasio de Filiis) and includes such luminaries as Galileo (admitted in 1611) and Fabio Colonna (1612). The last signatory (1625) was the humanist Josse de Rycke, author of the "Apes Dianiae", the Academy's elegiac tribute to the Barberini pope.
II. Towards a History of the Accademia dei Lincei: Giovanni Bianchi & Domenico Vandelli.
The impetus for re-printing the "Praescriptiones" in 1745 was the publication, in 1744, of the second edition of the "Phytobasanos" of the Lynceus Fabio Colonna (d. 1640). The editor of the book was the physician and naturalist Giovanni Bianchi (1693-1775), who took it upon himself to resurrect the Accademia dei Lincei at Rimini in 1745, styling himself "Linceorum Restitutor". For his edition of "Phytobasanos", Bianchi wrote a biography of Colonna and a history of the original Lincean Academy, "Notizia degli Accademici Lincei".
In response, the Modenese cartographer and mathematician Domenico Vandelli wrote his "Considerazioni", in which he corrected some of Bianchi's errors, challenged Bianchi's assertion that Federico Cesi had invented the telescope, and sought to establish a comprehensive and accurate list of the Academy's members. In addition to the Barberini list (described above), Vandelli relied on other manuscript sources, including a list written in another copy of the 1624 "Praescriptiones", which was given to Vandelli in 1739 by the Roman cleric Domenico Maria Ricci.
Approximately half of the "Considerazioni" concerns the invention and history of the telescope and microscope. Whereas Bianchi asserted that Cesi, drawing on the ideas of Giambattista della Porta, had invented both instruments, Vandelli attributes their invention to Galileo. He begins with della Porta's work on lenses, assesses the evidence for possible northern European inventors, draws evidence from Galileo's own writings (in particular the "Sidereus Nuncius"), and those of Galileo's disciples and contemporaries. Expanding on his theme, Vandelli continues his history of the telescope and microscope up through the middle of the 18th c., describing the innovations of Newton and the work of Robert Hooke.
The "Considerazioni" are followed by the reprinting of the "Praescriptiones" with its list of members taken from the Barberini copy of the 1624 edition.
Although not as rare as the 1624 first printing, the 1745 "Praescriptiones" is also very scarce. There are 6 copies in North America: American Philosophical Society, Cal. Tech, Columbia, Oklahoma, Smithsonian, and Yale.
III. The debate over the invention of the telescope continues… in Eight Letters:
The “eight letters” deal again with the discoveries of Galileo Galilei, his membership in the Academy, etc., particularly in the seventh and eighth letters of the eight that make up the second work. In this context Vandelli also discusses other authors who built and/or made observations with the telescope, such as Newton, Haley, Prince Federico Cesi, Kepler, but also Porta, Fabbri, Stelluti etc. The “controversy of the comets” of 1618 is discussed on p. 192-93. The eighth letter also presents the report of the journey that Vandelli undertook between 1725 and 1728 to visit scientific collections and scientists. On his return, Duke Rinaldo assigned him the chair of mathematics at the University of Modena. (Tiraboschi, Biblioteca modenese, V, p. 342. Targioni Tozzetti, Notizie degli..., p. 61.)
Favaro, Bib. Galileiana, 483; Tiraboschi, Biblioteca Modenese, p. 342. *Collation of lettere: Seconda: A4, Risposta A4, Seconda B4, Terza C10, Quarta D8, Quinta E8, Sesta F8, Settima (“Ultime Due”…) G-H8, Ottava I-N8, O10, P.S. P8.