Hippocratis Aphorismorum lib. VII. Prognostica. Coacae praenotiones. Prorrheticorum lib. II. De insomniis. Iusiurandum

Paris, apud Guil. Morelium in Graecis typographum regium, 1557


16mo. pp. [iv], 503 [i.e.499], [i]. Greek (Grec du Roi) and Roman letter in double column. Guillaume Morel’s fine woodcut printer’s device of a capital theta twined with two winged serpents, putti at centre, on verso of last, (Silvestre no. 164) small woodcut initials, “Ex Biblioth. Gasp. Fromentii 1600’ at head of title page ‘Noumeros 61’ in an early hand on pastedown, pencilled note “cf Esmerian 1er p. n. 116” on fly, shelf mark in blue pencil on verso. Light age yellowing, very minor marginal waterstains on blank margins of a few leaves. A fine copy in a stunning contemporary French early fanfare binding, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, finely worked to a fanfare design with double and triple gilt rules, scrolls, and floriated branches around a central oval, semé of pointillée tools, small hatched fleurons gilt, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, double gilt ruled in compartments, hatched fleurons to centres, edges, head and tail bands gilt ruled and hatched, a.e.g. in a cloth folding box, very minor rubbing at extemities.

A beautiful copy of this finely printed edition of the works of Hippocrates by Guillaume Morel, the Kings printer for Greek, in a stunning early fanfare binding of the highest quality. The binding is a fine example, on a small scale, of an early French (most probably Parisian) fanfare binding, characterised by the restrained use of small tools, and simple scroll work, without the embellishments in later fanfare designs. It is a more sophisticated design than the ‘primitive fanfare alla greque’ found on a book in the BL Shelfmark Davis 430, and is very similar in style though slightly earlier to a series of fanfare bindings, also on black morocco, made for Jacques Auguste De Thou, as a bachelor, also found in the British library, Shelfmarks c19f23, c19b11, c19b12, c19b11-16, c19b14. Interestingly all these bindings made for de Thou were on Greek editions (where the Bl specifies the subject).

The beautiful printing was made by Guillaume Morel who had taken over from Adrien Turnebe as “kings printer for Greek” though he had probably been Turnebe’s unofficial printer for many years. This edition is rare with USTC citing six locations only. The works here also contain the ‘Coan Prognoses’ which are “Hippocrates lecture notes published after his death by his colleagues and pupils on the faculty. .. this had hitherto been available only in the Aldine edition of 1526 or in Cornarius’ Froben edition of 1538. Morel printed Cornarius’ text, with corrections, in a utilitarian selection of texts without introductory matter. The edition was clearly aimed at students, and perhaps intended to meet a sudden new demand.” A. Wear. ‘The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century’. The selection of works here also contain the seven books of the ‘Epidemics’ which contain case-book studies of over forty patients with serious illnesses. They were recorded by Hippocrates and Hippocratic physicians with the aim of making a synthesis of all the data concerning an illness in order to thoroughly understand its nature and its possible cures. ‘Book I and III are generally accepted as authentic and as among the most remarkable products of the Greek science. The remaining books are supposed to be the work of disciples … Books I and II provide ‘the foundation of the concept of the genius epidemicus’, which prevailed in medicine for centuries. Book VI was issued in Greek at Haguenau in February 1532, with a Latin translation and commentary by Leonhart Fuchs’ [Stillwell p. 129].

With interesting and most appropriate provenance: Gaspard Froment, who published in 1624 the ‘Advertissement pour les Universitez de France contre les Pères Jésuites’ and who appears to have had a small but very fine library, some of which made its way into the Biliotheque Mazarin. It was later in the extraordinary collection of Raphaël Esmerian.  “Esmerian began collecting rare books at the age of 15, and by the 1950s had amassed what has been called the “single most important collection of French bookbindings in the United States.” Esmerian’s collection was chief among those featured in a 1957 History of Bookbinding Exhibition at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Esmerian followed that exhibition with Bookbinding Styles During the Renaissance in France, from the Collection of Raphaël Esmerian, an exhibition held at The Grolier Club, where he was a member, in 1966. In 1972, Esmerian produced a five volume sale catalogue of his library, Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian, notable as a fine reference work on the books in his collection and included in the Library holdings of The Grolier Club. His collection was sold at auction using the catalogue he wrote in Paris over a decade in the 1970s. Raphaël Esmerian passed away in 1976.” Cyclopedia.org.

A very fine book.

USTC 160249. Not in BM STC Fr. C16th or Adams. Wellcome. Osler. Durling.