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B?rigard, Claude Guillermet de (ca. 1590-1663)

Circulus Pisanus... De veteri et peripatetica philosophia in Aristotelis libros octo Physicorum. Quatuor de coelo. Duos de ortu & interitu. Quatuor de meteoris, & tres de anima... Opus in hac secunda editione auctius & retractatius Paolo Frambotto, 1660 - 1661.

€ 6.900
A tribute to the new experimental sciences
B?rigard, Claude Guillermet de (ca. 1590-1663). Circulus Pisanus... De veteri et peripatetica philosophia in Aristotelis libros octo Physicorum. Quatuor de coelo. Duos de ortu & interitu. Quatuor de meteoris, & tres de anima... Opus in hac secunda editione auctius & retractatius. Paolo Frambotto, 1660 - 1661.

Six parts in one volume, 4° (220x160 mm). Collation: ?6, ??4, A-H4; a4; I-Z4, Aa4, Bb6; ²a4, Cc-Xx4; ³a4, Yy-Zz4, Aaa-Xxx4; 4a2, Yyy-Zzz4, Aaaa-Bbbb4, Cccc6; 5a4, Dddd-Zzzz4, Aaaaa4, Bbbbb1 (singleton). [20], 64; 6 of [8], 65-203, [1]; [8], 205-353, [3]; 6 of [8], 357-538, [2]; [4], 541-583, [1]; 6 of [8], 585-729, [25] pages. Complete with the blanks a1, 2a1, Xx4, and Xxx4; lacking blanks 3a4 and 5a4. At the beginning of the volume are twelve unsigned leaves of index which do not belong to this edition. Roman and italic type. Each part opens with a separate title-page bearing the printer's device. The second, third, and fourth parts are dated 1660, while the first, fifth, and sixth ones are dated 1661. Author's portrait on fol. ?4v, engraved by Giovanni Giorgi; numerous diagrams in the text. Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Early nineteenth-century half calf, richly gilt-tooled spine, title in gilt on red morocco lettering-piece. A very good copy. A few quires browned, some marginal foxing, slightly spotted in places.

Provenance: 'Hic liber est Ippoliti de [?]' (partly erased contemporary ownership inscription on the verso of the second front flyleaf).

Second revised, and significantly expanded edition of this remarkably interesting treatise containing an encomium for the new Copernican and Galileian science as well as its discoveries.

The Circulus Pisanus first appeared in Udine in 1642-1643. Its author, Bérigard (or Berigardo), was born in Moulin (France) and moved to Tuscany in 1625, possibly summoned there by Christine de Lorraine. He taught in Pisa from 1627 to 1638 and then at the University of Padua from 1639 until the end of his life in 1663.

The Circulus Pisanus is based on the 'disputationes circulares' held at the University of Pisa, which played such an important role in his teaching there. The work is cast in the form of a dialogue between Charilaus, a follower of Aristotelian philosophy, and Aristaeus, who upholds pre-Socratic philosophy, especially the atomism of such Ionian philosophers as Anaximander, Empedocles and Anaxagoras. Because atomism, like the new astronomical discoveries, had been condemned, Bérigard was very cautious about how he recovered ancient doctrines and dealt with the new philosophy. Even though he officially remained safely within the limits of traditional thought, he was also clearly familiar with the particulate (probably Cartesian) and experimental (Galileian) forms of the new philosophy. He describes many experiments in his book, including those pertaining to vacuums and the fall of bodies.

Many contemporary scientists – including, among others, Kenelm Digby, William Harvey, Evangelista Torricelli, Vincenzo Viviani, and Giovanni Alfonso Borelli – are mentioned with admiration in the work. The Circulus Pisanus also includes an encomium of Galileo (fol. Aaaa4, with the shoulder note Galilaei encomium). Bérigard, who must have known Galileo personally, always praised Galileo, although he remained firmly convinced of the earth's immobility.

Though Bérigard seems reluctant to fully cross the borders of the old philosophy, the Circulus Pisanus is undeniably a tribute to the new experimental sciences: beside the aforementioned encomium on Galileo, the Copernican hypothesis is mentioned and somewhat 'accepted'; the experiments of Torricelli are used to deny the vacuum only on the basis that God is everywhere and therefore a void cannot exist; and his praise for the telescope and the commentary on De Luna became an exposition of Copernicus' and Galileo's doctrines.

STC 17th Century, 97-98; Bruni-Evans 644; Carli-Favaro, 277; Hirsch I, p. 348; A. Favaro, “Oppositori di Galileo, iv. Claudio Berigardo”, Atti Istituto Veneto Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 79 (1919-1920), II, pp. 39-92; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 209.