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Erhard Ratdolt - first publisher of Euclid

Erhard Ratdolt was, as far as we can see, the first publisher of scientific material. He is most famous for his 1482 first edition of Euclid, adapted from the medieval translation by Campanus. He remarks in his preface that the technical challenge was to get the diagrams into the book. Exactly how he did this is not apparently known.

Brief biography of Erhard Ratdolt

What Moritz Cantor says about Ratdolt
The Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie entry on Ratdolt.
Ratdolt as typographer
On fifteenth century publishing

Pages from the first edition

The preface and dedication
Page 1 of Book I

Gilbert Redgrave's address on Ratdolt, made to the Bibliographical Society in 1893 and printed by Chiswick Press


Plate 1 - First page of Ratdolt'a Appianus 1477
Plate 2 - Title page of the Kalendario 1476 (this is, we believe, the very first title page on any book)
Plate 3 - Ratdolt's first set of initial letters 1476
Plate 4 - Cuts of Venice from editions of the Fascicuklus Temporum by Walch and Ratdolt with their initial Gs
Plate 5 - First page of the Cepio 1477
Plate 6 - First page of the Ars Moriendi 1478
Plate 7 - Astronomical diagram in two colours, from the Sphaericum Opusculum of 1485, with text
Plate 8 - Cut of Orion, from the Hyginus of 1482, with text
Plate 9 - Type specimen sheet, dated 1486 (Warning! large image files)
Plate 10 - Ratdolt's Augsburg device
Plate 11 - Ratdolt's advertisement, 1484


Title page
Prefatory note List of plates
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22

Chiswick Press also published Byrne's Edition of Euclid.