[Commentary On Euclid's Elements]

Morocco Alawi 1876 Folio (21.2 x 16.7cm.). Two volumes. 18th century leather in Arabic style. Collation: Vol. I -227 ff(leaves) with modern end papers; Vol II- 230 ff(leaves) and modern end papers. The text is done with a lithograph on thick paper process. Each lithograph pages has 19 ll(lines) of maghribi script, within double rules, catchwords, numerous diagrams and printed in al-'Amira press. Colophon with name of Sultan Moulay Hassan. There are a number of worm holes in margins and text, mainly in one volume for leaves near end papers. There is also light tanning and some spotting in other volume. This is a copy of the first printing for Tusi's recension of Euclid's Elements. Very Good Modern mix leather (Item ID: 0000548)


The first lithographic press of Morocco was created in 1865 in Meknes and was then transferred to Fes, apparently that same year. The press was very active and published more than 400 works in 50 years, mostly on religion, language, law or literature (L'art du livre arabe, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2001, p.172-74). This Commentary on Euclid's Elements dated 1876 is therefore a rare and early example of the Fasi production of printed books. Unlike typography with movable types, lithography allowed maghribi script to be used in North Africa and to retain its specific character against the more widely used typography in naskh script. Euclid's Elements, compiled over 2,300 years ago, is a textbook on geometry and number theory that of any book, apart from the Bible, has had the most readers over the centuries. Until the late 20th century its theorems formed the basis of school geometry. Euclid aimed to derive as many conclusions as possible starting from the fewest number of assumptions or postulates. He started with ten "common notions" and "postulates" and derived 465 theorems as logical consequences in 13 "books". The subjects dealt with are mainly geometry: lines, angles, similar and congruent triangles, areas, the theorem inappropriately associated with Pythagoras, circles, polygons, volumes of parallelepipeds, prisms, pyramids, the sphere, but also number theory, including prime numbers and irrational numbers.In the Renaissance of learning that took place in Baghdad in the 8th-10th centuries the Elements were translated from Greek into Arabic and commented upon. The constructive criticism of Euclid and other Greek authors led to a school of Islamic mathematics that flourished over several centuries. We may mention, for example, Muslim efforts to "prove" Euclid's famous "Fifth Postulate", which is equivalent to stating that two lines will be parallel if the interior angles formed by a transversal add up to 180.The great scholar and polymath Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (A.D. 1201-1274) was responsible for editions of most of the Greek astronomical and mathematical works that had been translated into Arabic in the 8th-10th centuries. His enormous output in such editions or recensions was almost matched by his own independent works on those subjects.This is a fine copy of al-Tusi's Tahrir or recension (edition) of Euclid's Elements, arranged in 15 books (maqalas). Al-Tusi based his recension on the translations of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf in the early 9th century and Thabit ibn Qurra at the end of the 9th century, preferring the latter.(Dictionary of Scientific Biography 13: 508-509)

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