WILLIS, Thomas [with] ETTMÜLLER, Michael



WILLIS, THOMAS. Pharmaceuticae Rationalis.

Hagae-Comitis, Arnoldi Leers, 1675

ETTMÜLLER, MICHAEL. Medecina Hippocratis Chymica Disputationis.

Leyden, Arnold Doude, 1671.

FIRST EDITION of second. 12mo. Pp. (xl) 426 (xii); 112. Roman letter. First work full page engraved frontispiece with Rosicrucian allegorical figures and writing figure in foreground representing the Royal Society, dated 1674, ornamental device to tp, ornamental head and tail pieces and initials and three foldout loose plates with medical engravings. Second work, device and ornamental tail piece. Slight age yellowing, frontispiece a little shaved at fore edge, light water stain to fore edge of 30 pages of first work, minor water staining to later leaves, light water stains to fold out plates. A good clean copy in contemp. vellum, green ties, aeb.

Very rare first edition of the second work, and second edition of the first, of these important and rare medical texts on pharmaceutical-chemical and Hippocratic topics respectively by Thomas Willis (1622-75) and Michael Ettmüller (1644-1683). The first examines the operation of drugs within the human body. The latter part discusses cardio-circulatory issues and the effectiveness of opioids in drug research. Willis was a founding member of the Royal Society and made ground-breaking observations during his career including the ‘Circle of Willis’, a circle of arteries on the base of the brain as well as the sweetness of patients urine when they have diabetes mellitus (previously called Willis’s disease); a chapter of the present work is devoted to this important discovery.

“One of the great books of seventeenth century English medicine, this is the first scientific work on pharmacology as well as a valuable epitome of the materia medica of the time. Willis describes the sweetish flavour of urine in diabetes melitus, differentiating between it and diabetes insipidus. He gives a clear account of whooping cough and the first satisfactory figures on the structure of lungs.” (Heirs of Hippocrates).

Willis was born in Wiltshire and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1642. He practiced medicine from a house opposite Merton college, writing works including De Fermentatione and De Febribus, as well as important studies on the brain. The present work discusses modern chemical knowledge and pharmacology and includes attractive medical engravings as well as a full page allegorical frontispiece. Fold out illustrations of organs are presented with complex diagrams of veins, useful for one interested in phlebology. Close up images of veins complete with early portrayals of cells compliment Willis’s detailed medical text.

The second work is by the renowned German physician, Michael Ettmüller, who was born and studied medicine at Leipzig. Following this he went to Wittenberg and proceeded to travel to Italy, France and England. A medical polymath, Ettmüller was appointed chair of botany at Leipzig, as well as professor extraordinaire of surgery and anatomy. He was a popular and influential lecturer at the university and converted many of his lectures into written treatises on medical and chemical topics. His son compiled his many publications into a complete works, published in 1708.

Ettmüller, like Willis, was an advocate of chemical research and drugs, writing on intravenous injections and mania sine delirio. The present work debates the place of Hippocratic medicine in chemistry. Hippocratic medicine seems at odds with the use of drug related treatments that Ettmüller was advocating, as it is famously passive and believed in the healing, therapeutic power of nature.

First work: Wellcome 26916360; Waller 10336; This ed. not in Heirs of Hippocrates, Osler, NLM or Garrison Morton. Second work: Not in Wellcome, Garrison Morton, NLM, Heirs of Hippocrates or Osler. We have been unable to locate a copy of the first edition in North America; 4 copies are recorded in Continental Europe.
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