Annotated text bears light on early modern Italy

Among the effects of the McGregor-Cowan House in Old Sandwich that entered the used-book market in Windsor was an annotated copy of Giovanni Battista Benedetti’s collected works, his Speculationum Liber (Venice edition of 1599).

Classics professor Robert Weir will examine the insights that this book and its annotations can shed on the intellectual climate of Italy circa 1600 in a free public lecture Wednesday, April 4, at 6 p.m. in Assumption University’s Freed-Orman Centre.

In “A Windsor Copy of Benedetti’s Speculationum Liber (1599): A Study in Mathematics and Marginalia,” Dr. Weir says the annotations bear on mathematics, physics, engineering, astronomy and many other subjects.

“Paleographical study of the annotations, in combination with the academic context of their contents and further circumstantial evidence, suggests that this book may have been the personal copy of a certain, prominent Italian scientist of the period,” he says.

A reception will follow his talk, sponsored by the Humanities Research Group.

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