A: London, England, United Kingdom, B: Princeton, New Jersey, United States

1570

In 1570 English merchant, and later Lord Mayor of London Henry Billingsley issued in London *The Elements of Geometrie of the Most Ancient Philosopher Euclide of Megara. *Billingsley's work was the first English translation of Euclid. The title confused Euclid of Alexandria with the Greek Socratic philosopher, Euclid of Megara; the two were frequently confused during the Renaissance. Billingsley's translation included a lengthy preface by the mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist, consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee, which surveyed all the branches of pure and applied mathematics of the time. Dee also provided copious notes and other supplementary material.

Billingsley's translation, renowned for its clarity and accuracy, was made from the Greek rather than from the well-known Latin translation by Adelard of Bath and Campanus of Novara. In the nineteenth century victorian mathematician, bibliographer and historian of mathematics Augustus De Morgan suggested that the translation was solely the work of Dee, but in his correspondence Dee stated specifically that only the introduction and the supplementary material were his. Proof that Billingsley made the translation himself is available in Billingsley's copy of the 1533 Greek *editio princeps* of Euclid, preserved at Princeton University Library. Billingsley's copy is bound with the 1558 Basel edition printed by Hervagius, which reprints the Adelard-Companus Latin translation from the Arabic first printed in 1482 and the Zamberti Latin translation from the Greek first printed in 1505.

"On the title-page is the autograph signature 'Henricus Billingsley,' in a most beautiful antique hand. Throughout the volume are very numerous corrections, additions and marginal notes, all in Billingsley's peculiar and beautiful writing. I dare hazard that no Lord Mayor, since his time, has ever written so charming a hand. By reading what he has done, it immediately appears that though he had the Adelard-Campanus Latin before him, yet he gave his special work to a careful comparison of Zamberti's Translation with the original Greek, and the corrections he has actually made sufficiently prove his scholarship and render entirely unnecessary De Morgan's suppositious aid from Dr. Dee, while, on the other hand, they establish the conclusion about the translation to which De Morgan's sagacity had led him, that 'It was certainly made from the Greek, and not from any of the Arabico-Latin versions' (Halsted, "Note on the First English Euclid," *American Journal of Mathematics* II [1879] 46-48).

♦ A special feature of Billingsley's English translation of Euclid are pasted flaps of paper that can be folded up to produce three dimensional models of the propositions in Book XI, making it one of the oldest "pop-up" books.