WINE AND WINE-MAKING
De naturali vinorum historia, de vinis Italiae et de Conuiuiis Antiquorum.
Rome, ex officina Nicholai Mutij, 1596.
FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. (xxviii) 370 (ii). Roman letter, occasional Italic. Engraved architectural t-p with female allegorical figures and arms of the Colonna above, emblems of the Arts and Sciences, and author’s portrait. Full-page engraving of ‘Thermopolium Romanum’ to Aa 1 , decorated initials and ornaments. Small ink burn to crossed-out inscription on t-p, light water stain at head of t-p and upper margin of few gatherings, spotted browning (poorly dried) in places, small hole to outer blank margin of G 3 , Y 3 strengthened at gutter. A good copy in early C19 vellum, marbled endpapers, raised bands, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco labels, a.e.r. Bookplate of Pietro and Michele Del Vecchio to front pastedown, C19 bibliographical inscription to verso of ffep, contemporary ‘Ex Musaeo et libris Nicolai Aloysij Rigatij Med. i Ariminen sis ’ to t-p.
A good, well-margined copy of the first edition of this fascinating history of wine—‘of great rarity; […] one of the most important treatises published on the wines of France, Spain and all European countries’ (Vicaire 60-1). The Italian Andrea Bacci (1524-1600) was physician to Pope Sixtus V, professor of botany at Rome, and author of works on natural science (including a study of elks) and medicine (on medicaments, poisons and antidotes). ‘De naturali vinorum historia’ opens with a dedication to Cardinal Ascanio Colonna and Clement VIII’s printing privilege granted to Bacci. The first section provides a cultural and medical history of wine, spanning ancient drinking habits, religious uses, Galen’s and Dioscorides’s opinions, preservation, vinegar and aquavite. The second discusses the natural properties of wine according to age, smell, flavour, as well as wine-making and cultivation; it includes descriptions of specific wines (e.g., Formianum, Tiburtinum, sweet, from vitis Labrusca). The third analyses the medical uses of wine to treat fever, conditions of the stomach, chest, kidneys and bladder, the causes of drunkenness, and its effects on melancholic people. The fourth begins with a history of ancient banquets (convivia), their organisation, implements and food served, followed by a section focusing on the kinds of wine served, ways of toasting and serving, and at what temperature. Here Bacci contributed to debates on the physiological effects of cold beverages, which had become fashionable in the C16. He described the use of the Roman ‘thermopolium’, handsomely illustrated—a public place where hot and cold beverages, sweet as well as alcoholic, could be purchased. The work concludes with references to wine in ancient poetry, including Virgil and Homer. The C17 owner of this copy was Nicolai Aloysius Rigatius (Nicola Luigi Rigato or Rigati), physician in Rimini. He was member of the local Accademia degli Adagiati, established in 1627, and participated in their poetic florilegium ‘Virtutis trophaea’ (1659). The phrase ‘ex musaeo et libris’ suggests he also collected artefacts or natural specimens.
Only Yale copy recorded in the US.
EDIT16 CNCE 3836; Brunet I, 599: ‘ouvrage rare et recherché’; Simon, Bib. Bacchica, 68: ‘Traité agréablement écrit et bien présenté’; Vicaire 60-1; Wellcome 607. Not in Oberlé or Durling.