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Epistle of Peter Peregrinus of Maricourt

Peregrinus, Peter

Publication Date: 1902
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Specially Rubricated Copy, Printed by the Chiswick Press Peter Peregrinus (fl. ca 1269). Epistle of Peter Peregrinus of Maricourt to Sygerus of Foucaucourt, soldier, concerning the magnet. Translated by Silvanus P. Thompson (1851-1916). 4to. [16]ff. Black letter. Large hand-illuminated initial in red on leaf a2r, rubricated throughout. Woodcut diagrams printed in red. [London: Chiswick Press, 1902.] 194 x 160 mm. Original blue boards, cloth backstrip. Fine copy, no. 42 of 250 copies. First Modern English Translation of the first extant treatise devoted exclusively to magnetism. "The Epistola ranks as one of the most impressive scientific treatises of the Middle Ages. . . . Not only did Peregrinus bring together virtually all the relevant, contemporary knowledge on magnetism, but he obviously added to it and, of the greatest importance, organized the whole into a science of magnetism. He formulated rules for the determination of magnetic polarity, which then enabled him to enunciate rules for attraction and repulsion, all of which would today form the basis of an introductory lesson on magnetism" (DSB). Peregrinus's treatise exerted considerable influence during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, most notably in the work of William Gilbert, whose De magnete (1600) drew upon and expanded the empirical rules of magnetism formulated by Peregrinus over three hundred years before. This English translation was prepared by the physicist and electrical engineer Silvanus P. Thompson, who based it on the printed Latin editions of 1448, 1868 and 1898, and on a manuscript version in his possession. Wheeler Gift 46c. Bookseller Inventory # 38451

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Title: Epistle of Peter Peregrinus of Maricourt

Publication Date: 1902

Binding: Hardcover

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