VALENTINUS, Pomarius. Enchiridion Medicum. […] The Whole Course of Physicke.

London, Printed by N.O. for John Royston, 1612.


4to. 3 parts in 1, second with separate title but continuous pagination, third with drop-down title and separate collation and pagination. pp. [4], 172; 169 [i.e., 167], [7]. Roman letter, with Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to second title, decorated initials and ornaments. First title a little dusty, very slight age yellowing, light water stain at foot of gatherings P and Bb, another extending from upper gutter of last couple of gatherings, upper edge trimmed, very occasionally just touching running title, ink smudge at head of Aa3, small repair to one blank corner. A good copy in later calf, gilt lettered label, a.e.r.

A good copy of the second, enlarged edition in English of this compendium of medicine and surgery ‘published for the benefit of young students in medicine, surgeons and apothecaries’, by the obscure Petrus Pomarius Valentinus (fl.c.1520). His most famous work, the ‘Enchiridion’, begins with a compendium of medical knowledge, and the characteristics of the ‘perfect physician’, in the form of a dialogue between a doctor and a student. In Part I, there are sections on the elements, the humours, human body parts and organs, the best regimen sanitatis (proper exercise, food, drink and rest), detailed recipes for remedies against fevers caused by various conditions (e.g., melancholy), and against contagious illnesses (e.g., the plague, syphilis and scurvy). Part II – again in dialogue form – is devoted to surgery, with sections on specific topics such as oedema, the puncture of a nerve, and head wounds. Then comes a long section on illnesses head to foot, from apoplexy to toothache, tumours, gastric conditions, and STIs (e.g., gonorrhoea, priapismus, satyriasis). There follows an ‘Antidotaire’, with dozens of recipes for remedies against all kinds of common conditions, including alopecia, memory loss, cough, melancholy, vertigo, scotoma and lethargy, ending with a few pages on the medical properties of the most common herbs. Part III examines the most common illnesses head to foot, such as headache, epilepsy, palsy, phrenzy, cramps, pneumonia, palpitations, anorexia (with the subcategory ‘loathing of meat’), ‘cholerick passion’ (called by Shakespeare’s King Lear ‘hysterica passio’), and kidney conditions. Appended is ‘The Flowers of Celsus’, a collection of medical aphorisms. An important compendium for the history of English medicine.

ESTC S119012; STC 24578; Krivatsy 12113. Not in Wellcome, Heirs of Hippocrates or Osler.
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