GABUCCINI, Hieronymus. [with] ALTOMARI, Donato Antonio.

GABUCCINI, Hieronymus. [with] ALTOMARI, Donato Antonio. De Lumbricis. [with] De Alteratione.

Venice, Hyeronimum Scotum [with] Ioan Gryphium, 1547


FIRST EDITIONS. 8vo. Ff. (viii) 62 (x); 76. Italic letter. Woodcut device of flaming salamander to first tp; printer’s griffin device to second. Historiated initials in both works. C18 ex libris to inner cover of physician Petri Antonio Vigada, second work has considerable contemp. Latin marginalia probably in his hand. Light water stain to outer margin of f. 5-26 in first, a few minor marginal wormholes. A good clean copy in reused vellum from a C14 Latin manuscript, minor damage to edges and over bands on spine.

First editions of these impressive medical works by Girolamo Gabuccini and Donato Antonio Altomari (1520-1556). Girolamo Gabuccini was an Italian physician who wrote on topics ranging from epilepsy to gout. This work focuses on parasitic worms and is the first separate treatise on the subject. The work was successful enough that a second, possibly pirated, edition appeared at Venice in 1547 and a third at Lyon in 1549. Although the parasites he discusses, like tapeworms, had been known since antiquity, Gabuccini was innovative in his approaches to understanding their formation and their treatment. “Gabuccini believed that the lesser heat in the intestine leads to tapeworm formation” (Egerton, Frank. ‘A History of the Ecological Sciences, Part 12: Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology during the 1500s’, 2004). Gabuccini also discusses the liver fluke (fasciola hepatica) of sheep and goats, first written about by the French sheep farmer Jean de Brie in 1379. He attempts to understand how it infects the animal as well as the possible life cycle of the parasite. The English naturalist and physician Thomas Moffet (1553-1604) produced a commentary and analysis of Gabuccini’s work on parasites in his ‘Of the Signs and Cure of Worms out of Gabucinus’.

The second work is by the Italian doctor Altomari, who was an ardent follower of Middle Eastern medical practices and methodology. It focuses on gastroenterological processes including digestion, absorption and ‘purgatione’, or cleansing. Altomari was born in Naples and studied medicine under the classical schools of Hippocrates and Galen as well as Arabic works. He became acquainted with major Neapolitan academics including Tansillo and Della Porta, and was renowned for his lively debating skills and anti-Paracelsian ideology. He published prolifically but came under fire in 1552 when he was summoned to Rome on charges of heresy as part of the reforms instigated by the Theatines. Altomari died sometime after 1562 and is buried in Naples at the Church of S. Maria delle Grazier in the Altomari Chapel.

This copy belonged to Pietro Antonio Vigada from Favria in Turin, who was a practising physician and the author of cure guides to common ailments such as fevers.

1: Wellcome I 2483; BM STC It. 285; Durling C16th 1742; Adams 8 for the 1549 Lyon edition. 2: Osler Bib II 1804; Wellcome I 242; BM STC It. 21; Durling C16th 189 (imperfect).
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