STROMER, Heinrich.


STROMER, Heinrich. Saluberrimae adversus pestilentiam observations recens editae.

[Mainz, J. Schoeffer, 1517]


4to. Ff. 23 (i). Roman letter. Unusually attractive woodcut border of grotesque creatures and woodland animals to tp, floriated initials, printer’s device to last. Very slight age browning, some edges a little dusty. A good, clean well margined copy bound in red and black Gothic printed leaf on thick paper.

Important medical treatise advising the reader how best to avoid and survive an outbreak of pestilence by the German physician and professor, Heinrich Stromer (c. 1476-1542). This work closely followed the 1516 first edition, expanded slightly to include ‘recens editae’. Stromer was enrolled at Leipzig University in 1497, becoming professor of pathology in 1516 and later dean of the medical faculty. He built up important connections with other Renaissance figures including Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Ulrich von Hutten and Erasmus of Rotterdam. Stromer was also personal physician to a number of noblemen including George, Duke of Saxony, Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg and Albert of Brandenburg.


It is divided into three parts; the first discusses the causes of pestilence, sensibly advising one to flee from the first signs of plague. The second part discusses the treatments for fevers caused by pestilence and how illness affects sleep and the spirit. He states that the coming of the plague can be detected through the observation of certain weather conditions, for example a cold spring followed by a humid summer, and other phenomena such as comets. The untimely death of pregnant women bode an omen of plague, as well as ‘poisonous’ animals emerging from rotting earth including mice, rats, snakes, flies, caterpillars and worms. This is rather remarkable considering rat fleas were not confirmed to be carriers of plague for several centuries. To protect oneself against an outbreak of plague, Stromer advises the inhalation of fresh, clean air, burning fragrant juniper in one’s home and eating a healthy diet with lots of vinegar. Light physical exercise is recommended to generate a cleansing sweat as well as a combination of figs, walnut kernels, and currant syrup consumed as a hardened chestnut sized bite each morning. Onion powder is said to soothe abscesses. A fascinating example of early pathology and epidemiology.

Wellcome 6123; Durling 4273; This ed. not in BM STC Ger.; Not in Brunet, Adams or Garrison & Morton.
Stock Number: L3646 Categories: ,