ITALIAN SURGEON’S COPY IN CONTEMPORARY BINDING
Opera domini Joannis de Vigo in chyrurgia. Additur Chyrurgia Mariani Sancti Barolitani.
Lyon, [Antonius du Ry for J. And F. Giunta], 1525.
8vo. 3 parts in one, separate t-ps, ff. 179 (v), (iii) 86 (iii). Large Gothic letter, double column, first t-p in red and black. T-ps within woodcut frame with urns, putti, vegetable decorations and arms of France, woodcut portrait of Santo to third, woodcut printer’s device to verso of last, decorated initials and ornaments. Light marginal waterstaining, ancient minor repair to few outer blank corners or outer edges, fore-edge of F-J ink-splashed, small oil stain and worm trail to lower blank margin of M-N. A very good copy in contemporary northern Italian sheep (?), traces of ties, double and triple blind ruled to a panel design, inner border with blind-stamped leafy tendrils, centre panel with large blind-stamped floral centre- and cornerpieces, raised bands, spine triple blind ruled in four cross-hatched compartments, spine a bit cracked, very minor loss at head, expert repair to foot and lower joint. Extensive contemporary annotations, slightly later inscription ‘Johannes de Vigo’ on verso of last.
An interesting copy—in a handsome, remarkably fresh contemporary Tuscan or Umbrian binding—of this extremely successful surgical manual. Johannes de Vigo (1450-1525) was a renowned Italian surgeon from Genoa who, becoming acquainted with Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, was appointed his personal surgeon when he was elected Pope Julius II. In Rome, Vigo wrote two very influential surgical manuals—‘Pratica chirurgica’ (1514) and ‘Pratica compendiosa’ (1516)—which were published in more than 50 editions (‘Heirs of Hippocrates’ 87). ‘Opera’ is the fourth, enlarged edition of ‘Pratica’, first published in this form in 1521, integrated by additional material: a shorter surgical manual composed by Mariano Santo (1488-1550), a Neapolitan surgeon, professor at Bologna, and former student of Vigo. The work sheds light on the most pressing theoretical (‘in universale’) and practical (‘in particulare’) concerns of an early C16 surgeon. After reminding the reader of the notions of anatomy, both Vigo and Santo discuss abscesses, firearm wounds, ulcers, ‘morbus gallicus’ (syphilis), fractures, as well as the characteristics of natural medicaments and antidotes. The surgeon who annotated this copy underlined and glossed dozens of passages on anatomy (e.g., the smaller internal ‘testicles’ women have to host sperm), conditions (e.g., ‘formica corrosiva’ or herpes, scrofula, ‘hernia ventosa’ or orchitis in infants), pharmacopoeia (e.g., the use of a ‘collirium nobile’ or eye drops for the treatment of eye conditions) and surgery (e.g., incision of the ‘membrana spermatica’, phlebotomy). The annotations shed light on his own personal experience in provincial Umbria and Tuscany. He identifies ‘panaritium’ (whitlow) as ‘mal del pino’, according ‘to the Florentine vernacular’, an expression which Falloppio contributed to advertise in print. The annotator also mentioned three cases he attended, all ending tragically. Antonello from Bevagna died from a badly treated abscess on his foot; Francesco from Cortona fell ill and passed away swiftly due to damage to the internal organs; a lady from Bevagna, a peasant, ‘went back to the father who created her’ after a long fever, without lumps or bruises, but only great pain to her arm, which was entirely ‘corrupted’ (gangrene). A handsome, carefully used copy with fascinating insights into the life of a C16 Italian surgeon.
Brunet V, 1220 (mentioned); Durling 4610; Bib. Osler. 4173 (1534 ed.); Wellcome I, 6614 (1531 ed.), Heirs of Hippocrates 87. Not in BM STC Fr.