Wind Roses and Compasses

Padovani, Fabrizio (fl. 16th-17th century).

Tractatus duo, alter De Ventis, alter perbrevis De Terraemotu. Adiecto indice copiosissimo.... Bologna, Giovanni Battista Bellagamba, 1601.

Padovani, Fabrizio (fl. 16th-17th century) Tractatus duo, alter De Ventis, alter perbrevis De Terraemotu. Adiecto indice copiosissimo.... Giovanni Battista Bellagamba, 1601.

Folio (312x217 mm). Collation: †4, A4, B4+1 (a singleton signed B3 added after quire B), C-Y4. [8], 1-16, 17*-18*, 17-163 [i.e. 165], [13] pages. Italic, roman, and Greek type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Thirty-nine engravings, including three full-page. Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary cardboards. A very fine, wide-margined copy.

The rare first and only edition of this finely illustrated book, including fine engraved maps and plates of wind roses and compasses, among other technologies and technical schemata.

The work is by Fabrizio Padovani, the 'philosophus ac medicus' from Forlì; it addresses the effects of winds and contains a full-page chart of the world, the Carta Marina, which also shows the Americas in a style that recalls the famous Nova Tabula executed by Giacomo Gastaldi for the Italian edition of Ptolemy's Geography in 1548.

As announced on the title-page, the last leaves concern earthquakes, as it was traditionally believed these could be caused by subterranean winds. Padovani based his illustrations primarily on historical sources – above all Pliny – as well as contemporary accounts. He “envisioned an early warning system for earthquakes, and, also, categorized phenomena that were either concurrent with or subsequent to an earthquake, similarly to the typology of things seen before, during, and after an eruption that Vesuvius writers described three decades later. Earthquakes were more frequent than eruptions, and in this respect he was not lacking in a language of observation” (S. Cocco, Watching Vesuvius, p. 31).

The work is especially praised for the handsome illustrative apparatus, and the engravings depicting wind roses are of the highest quality.

Bruni-Evans 4375; Alden 601.78; Honeyman VI, 2387; Riccardi I, pp. 230-231; Shirley 232 (world map); S. Cocco, Watching Vesuvius: A History of Science and Culture in Early Modern Italy, Chicago 2013, pp. 29-32; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 179.

$ 18.000