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Elementos de matematica

[Spanish scientific encyclopaedia] Bails, Benito

  • Published: 1775 – 1796 , Madrid
1775 – 1796. Madrid. Joaquin de Ibarra & Viuda de Ibarra. Eleven volumes, 4to, (218 x 161 mm; one volume 225 x 165 mm). Complete with 5 folding tables and 309 folding plates; volume I: 68 ff., 598 pp., 3 pp., 29 plates; volume II: [4], 35 ff., 518 pp., 11 plates; volume III: [4], xliv, 579 pp., 25 plates. Volume IV: [4], xliv, 534 pp., 20 plates; volume V: [4], xliv, 604 pp., 18 plates; volume VI: [4], xx, 624 pp., 48 plates; volume VII: [4], xl, 816 pp., 21 plates; volume VIII: [4], xiv, 662 pp., 3 folding tables and 20 plates; volume IX: [2], vi, 878 pp., 64 plates. Volume IX part II: [4], xvi, 418 pp., 51 plates. Volume X: [2], xii, 531 pp., table of logarithms. Contemporary Spanish calf, raised bands to spine, compartments tooled in gilt, double lettering pieces, one volume in contemporary wrappers with spine perished. Overall excellent condition, occasional foxing of dampstaining, always light and unobstrusive, plates perfect mostly, several rubbed stamps of Manuel Muntra, an early proprietor in title pages and plates. Fine complete copy of the most important scientific publication of Spain in the 1th century, mostly first editions, though mixed as always; written by Benito Bails, director of mathematics and the Real Academia de San Fernando (Royal Academy of San Fernando). This work contains the scientific (mathematics, physics, optics, architecture, astronomy, etc.) knowledge at the time in Spain, in a way an Encyclopedia of scientific character. The volumes are divided in: 1-Arithmetics, Geometry, Trigonometry; 2- Algebra, Logarithms; 3- Conic sections, Euler's calculus and spherical trigonometry; 4- Dynamics; 5- Hydrodynamics; 6- Optics; 7- Astronomy; 8- Astrophysics; 9.1- Civil architecture; 9.2- Hydraulic architecture; 10- Logarithms. Each volume is illustrated with a total of 5 tables, and 314 folding plates. Bails had considerable erudition and reputation in his time, and whilst the work brings little contribution in terms of evolution of knowledge, this is a wonderful compendium -the best in Spanish- of updated information available on mathematics (which he takes from Euler), Blondel and Frezier for architecture, Bezout for arithmetic's, etc.; this translation is of considerable importance for bringing up to date the available information in Spain on these fields of knowledge -for example, it is the first publication in Spain o Euler's Introductio in analysis infinitorumwhich lay the foundation of mathematical analysis, also the first complete Spanish astronomic theory based on a Copernican system, etc. The publication of the work was not simple, and even though explanations about a second complete edition are given by Palau, modern scholarship proves this is not right; the first impressions began between 1772 and 1776 though they only started to appear in commerce after 1779 following failed attempts in 1775 and 1776, some volumes had their titles altered and some didn't (of the first three volumes we can find copies with different dates on the title pages, though they are the same identical otherwise), and in some cases Bails disease and his arrest by the Inquisition also delayed publication. Bails however did revise a few volumes (1, 9.1 and 10). The work was published over decades, below the year of publication of each volume, as mentioned above these are all first editions, except volume I and IX: I – 1793 (second edition) II – 1779 (second edition) III – 1779 (first edition) IV – 1780 (first edition) V – 1780 (first edition) VI – 1781 (first edition) VII – 1775 first edition) VIII – 1775 (first edition) IX first part – 1796 (second edition) IX second part – 1790 (first edition) X – Tabla de los logaritmos – 1804 (second edition) Palau 21926 & 21927. Carlos O. Suárez Alemán: Aceptación en España de los criterios rigurosos del Análisis Matemático durante los siglos XIX y XX. Universidad de Cádiz, 2007, p. 385.

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