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Sophia Rare Books
The copy of Borelli’s patron at the Tuscan court
BORELLI, Giovanni Alfonso
De vi percussionis liber., Bologna: Giacopo Monti 1667
First edition, an extraordinary association copy, of the first published book on the laws of percussion, and containing important hitherto unpublished material from the lectures of Galileo and Torricelli. This copy was a gift from Prince Leopold of Tuscany, Borelli’s patron at the Tuscan court. Probably under the influence of Borelli, Leopold, together with his brother Grand Duke Ferdinand, founded the Accademia del Cimento where Borelli first presented much of the experimental work on which this text is based. “In this, Borelli’s first book on mechanics, he quotes Galileo’s youthful work on percussion, the fourth Dialogo, and lectures by Torricelli. As well as the detailed discussion of impact, the book deals with the dynamics of falling bodies, vibration, gravity, fluid mechanics, magnetism, and pendular motion … he gives the name resilience for the first time to a number of problems now classed under this name” (Roberts & Trent). This is “the earliest book on the laws of percussion, which undoubtedly influenced John Wallis who, in 1668, published his discovery of the laws governing the percussion of non-elastic bodies, and Christiaan Huygens, who deals with the percussion of elastic bodies in his treatise De motu corporum ex percussion, published in 1669’ (Zeitlinger I, 174). Borelli regarded this work, together with his De motionibus naturalibus (1670), as necessary preparation for his masterpiece, De motu animalium (1680-81), on which he had worked since the early 1660s.