Augsburg. [[The Place of publication not identified (but most likely Augsburg ]: Most likely by H. Steiner, 1530. large woodcut portrait of Alexander the Great on the back of the title page Woodcut on the title and woodcut portrait by Jörg Breu, and 2 further woodcuts. First German edition. Bound in Modern half vellum with label on spine (somewhat stained, slightly discolored in the margins). The title page has dense contemporary annotations, first and last few pages somewhat waterstained, VD16; A3627; Simon, A.L. Bib. bacchica,; II, 415; Index Aureliensis; 107.911; Riley, L. Aristotle texts and commentaries in Univ. of Pennsylvania Libraries,; 237. Quarto: 20 x 15cm. Signatures: A-M⁴ N². This is the First German edition translated by
Johannes Lorchner and edited by Johann Besolt. With large woodcut title Of Aristotle offering Alexander this book. The title page has dense contemporary annotations, first and last few pages somewhat waterstained, large woodcut portrait of Alexander the Great on the back of the title page Woodcut on the title and woodcut portrait by Jörg Breu, and 2 further woodcuts. Bound in Modern half vellum with label on spine (somewhat stained, slightly discolored in the margins). Item #877
The Secretum Secretorum is :
“One of the most widely read texts of the High Middle Ages or even the most-read”.
*‘Abd ar-Raḥmān, Badawī (1987). La transmission de la philosophie grecque au monde arabe.”
The Secretum Secretorum like many texts of this period the pseudonymous works which ascribed to Aristotle were taken by medieval readers as authentic and placed this work among Aristotle’s genuine works. Including Roger Bacon. And yet no Greek original exists, though there are claims in the Arabic treatise that it was translated from was Greek then into Syriac and from Syriac into Arabic by a well-known 9th century translator, Yahya ibn al-Bitriq. It appears, however, that the treatise was most likely composed originally in Arabic.
The treatise that is usually referred to as the Secretum Secretorum is as a text a rather fluid object and requires more than a bit of investigation to determine what it exactly is.
Much of this text takes the form of a pseudoepigraphical epistle supposedly from Aristotle to Alexander the Great during his campaigns in Persia. The other parts of the text are much like the aphorisms and fragments of the humors is to probe all Western medicine, starting with the ancient physicians Hippocrates and Galen, the Persian Hunayn ibn-Is’haq. Translated from Latin perhaps that of Philip of Tripoli into German by Johann Lorchner. Edited by Besolt.
The Arabic treatise, called “Kitab sirr al-asrar” discusses a wide range of topics, including statecraft, ethics, physiognomy, astrology, alchemy, magic, and medicine. It is preserved in two versions: a longer 10-book version and a shorter version of 7 or 8 books, the latter is preserved in about 50 copies. The first Latin translation of a part of the work was made for the Portuguese queen c. 1120 by the converso John of
Seville. The second translation, this time of the whole work, was done at Antioch c. 1232 by the canon Philip of Tripoli for Bishop Guy of Tripoli. Some 13th-century editions include additional sections.
As of present there are accepted forty genuine Aristotelian works known in Latin or vernacular versions during the Middle Ages. Add to this there were more than a hundred other works attributed to the master at some time during the same centuries. Which are now considered spurious. Of these the Secretum Secretorum.
Exerted immense influence and had the widest dissemination from the tenth century and continued to extend influence medicine in to the seventeenth century.
The first appearance of the work in a published edition of the Secretis Secretorum occurs in the 1501 edition printed by Hector Bononiae.
The Secretum Secretorum, an enormous and enormously influential guidebook cum encyclopedia throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Of the two main Arabic recensions, the Shorter (and older) recension, a “Mirror for Princes” ostensibly written by Aristotle for Alexander the Great, was “turned into an encyclopedic manual by the addition of a layer of scientific and occult material” (pp. x-xi).