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The Elzeviers are known for their small-format books, suited to being read in the hand and carried in the pocket. Thibault's Academie de l’espée is an altogether different kind of production. Far and away the biggest volume the Elzeviers produced, it took a long time to come into being: a Paris privilege from December 1620 is accompanied by one from the Netherlands dated June 1627. Although the volume can be shown open to only one of its extremely elaborate plates, the time spent on its production may be better understood by noting that the book contains more then forty-five double-size plates of equal elaborateness. Geared to an aristocratic, armigerous, and armed audience presumably easily able to absorb the cost of so massive a production, the book was designed without sparing any expense in order to impress. It succeeds.
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Gérard Thibault, 17th cent. Academie de l’espée, de Girard Thibault d’Anvers, ou se demonstrent par reigles mathematiques sur le fondement d’un cercle mysterieux la theorie et pratique des vrais et iusqu’a present incognus secrets du maniement des armes a pied et a cheval. [Leiden: Elsevier], 1628. Elz pf 4705.