2 VAUBAN, S. ... De l'attaque et de la defense des places 106


Description: VAUBAN, Sébastien le Prestre de.
De l'attaque et de la defense des places...
The Hague, Pieter de Hondt, 1737. Large 4to (26.5 x 20.5 cm). With 35 folding engraved plates, lacking plate XV. Contemporary calf, richly gold-tooled spine.
€ 2,500
First edition of Vauban's treatise on siegecraft. Of all the 17th- and 18th-century books "on military technology, no works had greater influence or enjoyed greater prestige than those of Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the great military engineer of the reign of Louis XIV" (Guerlac). Although a highly practical man and not a theoretician, Vauban had written down the secrets of his success in the building and capturing of fortresses between 1669 and 1704. Vauban's strategic superiority could only remain if this information was kept secret, so his texts circulated only within a very select circle. After Vauban's death they were leaked. In the dedication and introduction the Dutch publisher describes how he managed to obtain a copy, which was so expensive, partly due to the many illustrations, that only princes, ambassadors "et autres seigneurs" could afford it. "By the time the treatises became available, Vauban's early readers must have been ready to believe that the text finally being made public did in fact contain incredible military secrets and have the power to make nations invincible. No other treatise of siegecraft had been surrounded by such secrecy" (DeJean).
With bookplate. Binding worn at the edges; browned throughout with a few spots and lacking plate XV; a good copy.
Dejean, Literary fortifications, pp. 34-36; Jahns, pp. 1419-1420, 1426-1429; Sloos, Warfare 03045; STCN (4 copies); cf. Guerlac, "Vauban" in: Paret (ed.), Makers of modern strategy, pp. 64-90.
  • Number: 1011787
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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