ALDINE MEDICINE

Collectorum medicinalium libri XVII.

Paris, apud Bernardinu Turrisanum…sub officina Aldina, 1555.

£1750

8vo. ff. 332. Roman letter, occasional Italic, little Greek. Printer’s device to t-p, decorated initial and headpiece. T-p and first a bit dusty with minor loss to fore-edge, faint water stain to upper margin of first gathering, the odd ink spot, upper margin of last leaf a bit dust-soiled. A very good, well-margined copy in contemporary polished vellum, yapp edges, fragments of C14 ms to rear pastedown, rear joint a bit loose but sound. Bookplate of Milltown Park Library SJ and ex-libris Soc. Iesu Prov. Hib. to front pastedown.

Very good, well-margined copy of the Latin translation of Oribasius’s fundamental Greek work on medicine by Giovanni Battista Rasario, professor at Pavia and Padua, renowned physician and translator of medical texts. After studying at Alexandria, Oribasius (320-403) was appointed physician to the Emperor Julian the Apostate. At Court, he compiled excerpts from Galen’s work and the ‘Collectiones medicae’ in 70 books, 17 of which appear in Rasario’s translation. ‘Collectiones’ is a monumental compendium of ancient medical authorities—e.g., Archigenes, Agathinus, Philotimus, Possidonius and Xenocrates—whose wisdom would have been otherwise lost forever. The work encompasses the composition and physical effects of specific foods (e.g., polenta, figs, palm dates and lentils), vegetables and herbs (e.g., nettles, asparagus, edible and poisonous mushrooms), meat and fish (e.g., sheep, ostrich and whale); treatments for sundry conditions (e.g., a long study of the benefits and administration of clysters); sleep and physical exercise, including sexual intercourse; bodily functions like the expulsion of faeces or menstrual blood; healing baths; ointments; and an index with hundreds of herbs and stones, their appearance, diffusion and benefits. ‘Collectiones’ famously features the first mention of a string figure used to create a solid knot to recompose dislocated or broken bones.

BM STC Fr., p. 330; Brunet IV, 226; Wellcome I, 4647; Durling 3406; Bernoni 414; Rénouard 292:2. Not in Garrison and Morton.

L2703

Print This Item Print This Item