Florence: Caietano Cambiagi, 1776. Item #41589
1st edition. Full gorgeous period vellum binding with leather label on spine. 8vo, 256 pages + 7 full plate color illustrations throughout. In Latin. Engraved frontispiece and engraved illustrated title page. Frontispiece, title page, and plates done in green, ochre, and blue. Engraved initials done in red. Brunet V:427. Created by the Grand Ducal Printing House of Florence with great typographical luxury. A beautifully printed work by the Florentine Carmelite Soldini, who expounded the theory that animals possess souls, which was somewhat counter to Church teaching at the time. Soldini discusses a pre-Darwinian idea of evolution, exploring the connections between different kinds of animals, some of which are strikingly illustrated in the colourful plates. The plates depict animals and pastoral scenes featuring prehistoric beasts, shellfish invading the land from the sea, animals and birds, including an ape, and sea creatures. Soldini also wrote a history of the Reformation and a study of Florentine philosophy. The author mentions all those authors who in ancient times claimed the presence in animals of a reflexive soul. "Soldini's publication undermines the belief in the cognitive superiority of man over animals.The eight engraved plates that enrich the edition portray marine animals, in particular crustaceans, as they colonize the earth. This representation is inspired by the theory of the French Benoit de Maillet (1656-1738) who, in his work Telliamed (the title repeats his name written in the opposite sense) reports his Neptunian theory of the earth: the globe would have been covered with water in ancient times which would be gradually retreating. And life would have originated in water through tiny seeds that would have generated all the aquatic forms from which all the terrestrial ones and then the winged ones should come up. Every plant or animal, including man, would essentially have a corresponding aquatic form” Unexplored treasures. The exhibition of the Medici-Laurenziana Library). Copies sold at Christies in 2001 and 2006 for well over $3000.00. Subjects: Animal intelligence. Animal behavior. Evolution -- Early works to 1800. Psychology, Comparative. Engravings -- Color. Etchings -- Color. A la poupée prints. OCLC: 53019892. Faint blindstamp on final page of index and blank rear endpaper. Very Good Condition. An outstanding copy, much nicer than generally offered. (AC-21-21).