RUEFF, Jakob

The expert midvvife, or An excellent and most necessary treatise of the generation and birth of man.

London, E[dward]. G[riffin]. for S[imon]. B[urton], 1637


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. [xvi], 192, 120. A-N⁸, 2A⁴, 2B-2H⁸. Woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical ornaments, very numerous woodcut medical illustrations, several full page, early shelf mark on rear fly. Light age yellowing, first two lines of printed title replaced in excellent facsimile, minor spotting, marginal soiling in places, general light paper browning. A good copy in modern calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands, a.e.r. 

First and only edition of this anonymous translation into English of ‘De conceptu et generatione hominis’ the celebrated manual of obstetrics. The text is an improved version of Rösslin’s ‘Der Swangern Frauen’ but its importance to the embryologist lies in Rueff’s illustrations which show contemporary ideas about mammalian embryology, which corrected many of Rösslin’s more fantastic images, and which are copied in this English edition from Jost Amman’s fine woodcuts. The book is addressed not only to midwives, pregnant women and women in childbed but also physicians and scholars in general. “Little is known of Jacob Rueff’s early life except that he was born in 1500. Although primarily known as a physician, surgeon, and lithotomist, he was also a poet and writer of folk songs… His medical writings include a little book on tumours, astronomical notes for an almanac, and charts for blood letting. But easily his most important contribution was the publication of a practical handbook on mid-wifery in 1554. Published simultaneously in Latin and German, De conceptu et generatione hominis … became the required reading for the midwives of Zurich, for whose instruction and examination Rueff was made responsible. In 1637 an English translation was published in London with the title The expert midwife. .. Rueff’s book was for over a century a major source of information for midwives and doctors. As he wrote: “my labours I bequeath to all grave modest and discreet women, as also to such as by profession, practice either physicke or chirurgery. And whose helpe upon occasion of extreame necessity may be usefull and good both for mother, child and midwife.” Much of Rueff’s advice stems from that of classical writers or is taken from Rösslin’s Rosegarten. A great deal is also very primitive to modern eyes. But it made a start at a time when midwifery had previously been strictly a woman’s afair.” Peter Dunn. ‘Jacob Rueff (1500–1558) of Zurich and The expert midwife. Archives of disease in childhood’.

“The following year [1637]a German work, ‘The Expert Midwife’ by Jacob Rueff, was translated into English. Sadler’s work [The Sicke Woman’s Private Looking-Glasse] had drawn heavily on this text; Rueff, a Lutheran physician in Zürich, had published his book in both German and Latin back in 1554. The identity of its English translator remains a mystery, but its publication was clearly linked to Sadler’s book, since Rueff was published by Edward Griffin, the husband of Anne Griffin, who had published Sadler. Rueff had been available for translation into English for decades, but his negative vision of the womb seems to have resonated in England only after the turn of the century. Both Rueff’s and Sadler’s books are important not just in their own right, but because parts of these books were incorporated into many subsequent popular medical works. Rueff and Sadler created a very different female body than that envisioned by Raynalde. Although traces of older ideas about wonder and mystery remain, the female body became a dangerous and unstable entity. In particular the womb, formerly wondrous, was now a threat. Both texts introduced themes into English popular medical manuels: the idea that the womb can threaten a woman’s health and even her life, and a fascination with what happens when reproduction goes awry and monsters are produced” Mary Elizabeth Fissell. ‘Vernacular Bodies: The Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern England’.

A good copy of this rare and most influential edition of the English translation. 

ESTC S101598. STC 21442. Wellcome 5616 Osler 3849. Not in Durling.


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Armamentarium chirurgicum.

Venice, typis Combi, & La Nou, 1665


8vo. pp. (xxiv) 166, 171-317 (xi), 44 plates included in pagination. Roman letter, with Italic. Engraved t-p (numbered as pl. 1) with scene of surgical operation and surrounding spectators, woodcut vignette to typographical t-p, 43 superb full-page or folding etchings of surgical instruments and techniques, wounds and bandages, decorated initials and ornaments. Few ll. lightly toned, ink splash to B1, paper flaw to outer margin of pl. 35, touching border but not engraving. An excellent, clean copy, in fresh impression on good-quality paper, in contemporary vellum, gilt-lettered spine, a little loss to upper joint (revealing printed waste lining) and lower edge of upper cover, C18 ex-libris of Bartolomeo Riviera to front pastedown.

This copy belonged to Bartolomeo Folesani Riviera (1722-95), professor of Surgery at Bologna in 1749-95. The C18 surgeon Antonio Scarpa, when still a student, wrote that at Bologna ‘surgical practice was undertaken with an intelligence uncommon in other parts of Italy because in the main hospital worked Riviera, former student of the famous Molinelli’ (Scarpa, ‘Epistolario’).

Excellent, superbly illustrated copy, of fresh impression, of this major, much translated surgical manual. It was first published posthumously in 1655, following the notes left by its author, Johannes Schultes (Scultetus, 1595-1645). A physician from Ulm, he received his doctorate at Padua studying with major surgeons like Fabricius ab Aquapendente and van de Spiegel. ‘Armamentarium’ was extremely successful, this being the fifth edition in ten years. It was produced and structured in size and content to facilitate practical use, and illustrations were paramount. The 43 superb engravings are as fresh as when they were printed. The first part is organized as a commentary to each plate: e.g., on surgical instruments like the forceps, ‘cannulae’ to treat intestinal ulcers and haemorrhoids and implements to extract a deceased foetus after a miscarriage; techniques to treat fractures, skull trauma, dental cavities, urinary tract stones (through operations portrayed with painful vividness) or amputated body parts, including breasts in case of cancer. The work is especially renowned for its proposed technique of hand amputation, which became the ‘routinely adopted method’ after the first edition (Weinzweig, ‘Mutilated Hand’, 9). The second part examines surgical operations ‘from head to heel’, based on notes taken by Schultes during his daily work—e.g., ‘In 1637, on January 9, at 7pm, Johannes Happelius from Ulm…32 years old…was wounded seven times’, followed by the specific location of the wounds and the treatment and medicines provided, day by day. A milestone in the history of surgery; a fresh copy of illustrious provenance.

Morton-Garrison 5571 (1655 ed.); Heirs of Hippocrates 293 (1655 ed.). A. Scarpa, Epistolario (1772-1832), ed. G. Sala (Pavia, 1938).


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De morbis muliebribus praelectiones.

Venice, apud Giunta, 1601.


4to. pp. (viii) 236 (xvi), 125-28 misbound. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials and headpieces. Faint waterstaining to lower outer corner of preliminaries, intermittent age yellowing. A very good copy in contemporary vellum, traces of ties, early ms. ex-libris of Jesuit Collegium and Fr. Gregorio Fanti to t-p.

Very good copy of the third edition of this important, scarce treatise on medical conditions affecting women. Girolamo Mercuriale (1530-1606) was an Italian physicist and philologist most famous for his ‘De Arte Gymnastica’ (1569) on physical therapy, exercise and well-being among the ancients. As professor of practical medicine at Padua, he wrote numerous treatises on subjects as varied as pestilence, skin diseases, poison and diseases of children. First published in 1587, ‘De morbis muliebribus praelectiones’ was entirely devoted to the ailments to which women were most prone. The prefatory letter highlighted the relevance of the medical knowledge of female physiology (‘gestation of the womb, birth and miscarriage’) for jurisprudence, quoting from Justinian’s ‘Decretum’ on issues of legitimacy and heredity. The focal points of the work are indeed menstruation, sterility, conception, pregnancy, birth and miscarriage. Each section illustrates a specific condition, its causes, diagnosis and treatment, addressing questions like the effects of different kinds of semen for conception and of ‘coitus’ on pregnant women (too much can cause miscarriage), the perils of blood clots, gonorrhea, several kinds of womb and breast inflammation, and numerous conditions related to menstruation (e.g., discolouration, excessive flux). Mercuriale ‘advocated the use of the vaginal speculum to determine the state of the uterus…and was among the first to refer to the lack of fertility among the noble class’ (Erdmann, 32). A scarce, ground-breaking and incredibly thorough study of female physiology.

Gregorio Fanti S.J. was rector of the College in Rome c.1706-10.

Erdmann, 32 (1587 edition); Not in USTC, Wellcome, Durling, Hull, Brunet, Adams or Heirs of Hippocrates.


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Libro de agricultura.

Pamplona, por Matías Mares a costa de Fernando de Espinal, 1605.


Large 4to. ff. (iv + 1 added leaf of errata) 242, lacking final 12 ll. (additional work printed separately and mentioned on the t-p). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut vignette to t-p, decorated initials and headpieces. Light waterstaining to first three gatherings, occasionally to margins throughout, outer margin of t-p dust-soiled and a bit frayed, intermittent mainly marginal foxing, slight browning in places, clean tear with no loss to blank lower margin of fol. 21, small worm trail to blank outer margin of few gatherings, another to text touching a few letters, scattered ink spots, little thumbing, part of one column of text repaired and partially supplied in a contemporary hand to p. 127, slight offsetting to p. 228, clean cuts with no loss along gutter to last leaf. A good copy in contemporary vellum, traces of ties, ‘Períbañez’ inked to upper cover. Stamp of Rothamsted Research Centre to fep, inquisitorial inscription ‘no ay que expurgar conforme al expurgatorio del anno 1640. Pamp[lona] a 22 de Julio 1642(?). Don Joseph de Aguerre’, some early annotation.

 Very scarce edition of this extremely successful and ground-breaking manual of agriculture in Castilian. Gabriel Alonso de Herrera (1470-1539) was a Franciscan agronomist and brother to the humanist Hernando and the musician Diego Alonso de Herrera. He is most renowned for this ‘Libro de agricultura’, first printed in Spain in 1513, which underwent over 20 editions in just a few decades and was translated into Latin, Italian and French. It was a compilation based on a variety of agricultural and medical sources, including Greek (Galen and Hippocrates), Arabic (Avenzoar and Avicenna), and Latin ‘De re rustica’ authors (Columella, Cato, Varro and Palladius). Following the classical tradition, Herrera presented a holistic view of the agronomist as knowledgeable in the cultivation of crops and trees, techniques for making soil and water suitable for agriculture and horticulture, the forecast of adverse weather conditions, farming and herbal medical remedies. He also injected into this solid tradition new ideas—based on contemporary agricultural theories and his own experience—concerning the identification of high-quality seed which should be grown separately from the rest to improve the quality of crops, as well as plant reproductive morphology, i.e., he believed that plants could be masculine or feminine. Juan de Valverde’s ‘Despertador’ and Gutiérrez Salinas’s ‘Discursos’ similarly deal with agricultural and horticultural techniques; the first also discusses farming and the use of beasts of burden as well as the remedies to preserve one’s estate in times of famine and inclement weather.

The printer, Matías Mares, intended this text to be bound together with Juan de Valverde’s ‘Despertador’, Diego Gutiérrez Salinas’s ‘Discursos del pan y del vino del Niño Jesús’—originally printed in Alcalá de Henares in 1600 and here summarised—and Gregorio de los Rios’s ‘Agricultura de jardines’ printed in Zaragoza in 1604. This copy contains the 4 ll. of preliminaries (plus an additional leaf of errata) and 242 ll. of text which encompass the (complete) works by Herrera, Valverde and Salinas. The 12 ll. containing de los Rios’s work were not bound in this copy, as Palau, see below. Unlike the other works the Los Rios has its own t-p and pagination, for issue separately.

José de Aguirre SJ was an Inquisitor whose ‘expurgatorio’ dating from the 1640s is recorded in other Spanish books. He authored the pamphlet ‘Profecía de Santa Hildegardis’.

Only Columbia, WSU and LC copies recorded in the US.

Brunet III, 131; Graesse III, 260; Wilkinson, Iberian Books 20625; Palau 114100; Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturae Botanicae, 4411. Not in Oberlé or Bitting.


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De cognoscendis, et medendis morbis ex corporum coelestium positione Libri IIII …… Cum argumentis et expositionibus Ioannis Paulli Gallucii Saloensis.

Venice, Damiano Zenaro, 1584.


FIRST and ONLY EDITION thus. 4to, ff. (12), 228. Roman and Italic letter. Large printer’s woodcut device on title-page, foliated and historiated initials, decorative head- and tail- pieces; several horoscope charts and half page astrological diagrams; 7 volvelles, 1 between G4 and H1, 3 mounted on verso of G4 and 3 loose. Very light browning in places, the odd spot, small marginal burn hole to ll. 28-29. A very good, crisp, well-margined copy in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, remains of ties; re-cased. Contemporary Latin annotations in a few places, “Hasfurt” inked by early hand on upper edge.

An important collection of works on astrological medicine united in this edition for the first time by the Italian scholar Giovanni Paolo Gallucci (1538-1621), including: the treatise in 4 books by Johann Virdung (ca.1465-ca.1535), published in 1532; the “Iatromathematica” attributed to Hermes Trismegistus; the “Prognostica” by Imbrasius of Ephesus (pseudo Galen); and “De triplici vita” in 3 books (“De vita sana”, “De vita longa”, “De vita coelitus comparanda”), with an early treatise on the plague (“Epidemiarum antidotus”), both by the Florentine philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1422-1499), and the “Introductio ad astrologiam” by Gallucci himself.

Gallucci was a translator and cartographer. After completing his education in Padua, he moved to Venice. His interests ranged from astronomy to medicine and literature. He was one of the founders of the second Venetian Academy and wrote several works on astronomy, such as the important star atlas “Theatrum mundi, et temporis” (1588). Virdung was an influential physician and astrologer from Hasfurt. He studied in Leipzig and Krakow where he attended the lectures of Albertus de Brudzewo and Johannes von Glogau. In 1492 Virdung moved to Heidelberg where taught medicine, mathematics and astronomy and entered the service of the Electoral Palatine court, producing yearly prognostications regarding the ruling planets, the interpretation of eclipses and natural disasters, as well as social events (Joachimite prophecies). Virdung’s bibliography includes at least 80 astrological works in German and Latin.

After a dedicatory letter by Gallucci to the Bishop of Mantua, Sisto Vicedomini, explaining the relationship between disease and the influence of the stars over human bodies, the volume opens with Virdung’s 4 books, each introduced by a short summary. Book 1 focuses on the basics of astrology (zodiac, stars, planets and other celestial bodies, such as the Moon), according to principles by Galen, Ptolemy (Opus Quadripartitum) and Cardan. Book 2 and 3 concern the classification of diseases and their remedies (drugs’ ingredients; laxative and phlebotomy; bandages, embrocation and balms to relieve pain; poultice for the head and the stomach, infusions). They particularly deal with the definition of vomit and faeces as movements of the body to expel poison and humours, as well as with the issue of the periods of major danger for the health, for instance the moon phases. Book 4 discusses symptoms and features of the body which reveal specific diseases depending on the position of the stars, such as face appearance and the colour of urine. There follows the “Iatromathematica”, supposedly by the Egyptian philosopher Hermes Trismegistus, a treatise in Latin translation which refers to medical astrology as a discipline subordinating clinical observation and therapeutic praxis to the scrutiny of the stars; the “Prognostica” or “De decubitu” in 13 chapters, an anonymous work on prognosis bringing together materials from the Galenic “Crises”, as well as from the iatromathematical tradition. The second part of the volume contains Ficino’s “De triplice vita”, preceded by Gallucci’s address to the reader. One of Ficino’s later works, inspired by Galen, Plato and the Arab “Picatrix”, and divided into three parts: “De vita sana”, dedicated to Lorenzo the Magnificent, aiming at helping scholars achieve a healthy life through suitable diet and habits; “De vita longa”, dedicated to the noble Florentine Filippo Valori, on eternal happiness, providing similar advice to the elderly; “De vita coelitus comparanda”, prescribing gold and gems (talismans) as powerful health remedies. Last, a short astrological treatise by Gallucci dealing with celestial phenomena and related calculations, zodiac and planets, connection between stars and Fortune, and their influences on the bodies.

BM STC, It., 729; Cantamessa, II, 4745 (“Opera di significativa importanza, edita con grande cura e scritta con ogni possibile chiarezza”); Houzeau-Lancaster, I, 5860. Dürling, 4631; Wellcome, I, 3077. Not in Adams. Not in Brunet or Graesse.


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SGAMBATO, Giovanni Andrea

De pestilente faucium affectu Neapoli saviente opusculum.

Naples, Tarquinio Longo, 1620.


FIRST and ONLY EDITION. 4to, pp. (8), 71, (1). Roman and Italic letter, printed side notes. Woodcut floriated initials and ornaments representing flowers, birds and other animals. Light age yellowing and slight foxing, upper margin of first two leaves a bit soiled; pastedowns and front endpaper slightly torn, minor paper flaws on a couple of ll., small tear to lower blank margin of p. 67. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, spine in compartments, remains of ties, rubbed. “Bonnet M. R. ord. 1682” in early hand on front pastedown and shelf mark to front endpaper. Four lines early ms. note in French, faded but largely legible, on lower board, directing or recording the delivery of a package of a dozen books, including this one, to a lady, at a particular address (not legible), with their weight and/or price.

Rare medical work on early epidemiology, including its relationship with astrology, by the Neapolitan physician and philosopher Giovanni Andrea Sgambato, a fellow of the important Academy of the Oziosi, founded by the scholar Giambattista Manso (1560-1645).

Over the centuries diphtheria was the cause of many deadly epidemics. Physicians in the Renaissance started its systematisation distinguishing it from other sore throat types and using various Latin names, such as “angina”, “morbus suffocans”, “morbus strangulatorius”, etc. They analysed some important features of the disease, especially the specificity of the pseudomembranes, the infective potential of salivary drops and the palsy of the soft palate. Sgambato is listed among those who first wrote on this acute contagious disease which raged in Spain in 1613 and passed over to the Reign of Naples in the space of a few years. It was called “garrotillo” because the suffocation which ended the patient’s life resembled garrotting, the Spanish method of executing criminals.

Addressed to Francesco Pignatelli (1601-1645), duke of Bisaccia and Comte of Montagano, the dedicatory letter recalls the glorious deeds of Captain Gisulfo Pignatelli during the Byzantine wars (C12) and provides an introduction on the purpose of the work. There follows a preface – anticipating the 27 chapters – which describes the origins of epidemiology through examples from ancient literature, and outlines natural (weather and astronomical events) and supernatural (Pagan God’s wrath) causes of the disease.

According to Sgambato the epidemic occurred in 1617 after the appearance of three comets in the sky which were followed by evident climatic changes in both hemispheres. It was murderous, accompanied by respiratory infections and fever, and physicians were powerless. By an analytical approach Sgambato describes genesis, symptoms, prevention and care method (surgery and drugs) of the disease, also giving a broad overview of the contemporary disputes in relation to its name and nature appealing to different authorities, especially Thucydides, Hippocrates, Galen and Avicenna.

This copy probably belonged to the well-known Swiss physician Théofile Bonnet (1620-1689) who received the MD degree from Bologna University in 1643, later becoming physician to the Duc de Longueville at Neu-Chatel. He wrote various medical works, such as the “Sepulchretum sive anatomia practicea” (1679, 2 vols.) – collecting the results of about 3000 autopsies – which was considered the first complete treatise on pathologic anatomy and anticipated Giovanni Morgagni’s (1682 – 1771) studies.

Not in USTC. Only 6 copies recorded in Europe (Civic Berio, Genoa; Vittorio Emanuele and Società Napoletana di Storia Patria, Naples; BNC – Rome; BnF – Paris; Wellcome and BL, London) and 3 in the US (Academy of Medicine, New York, Yale; University of California; University of Minnesota). Not in Brunet or Graesse. BL., It., II, p. 847; Wellcome, I, 316: 5960. Not in Durling, Osler or Heirs of Hippocrates.


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The surgeons mate or Military & domestique surgery. Discouering faithfully & plainly ye method and order of ye surgeons chest, ye vses of the instruments, the vertues and operations of ye medicines, w[i]th ye exact cures of wounds made by gun-shott, and otherwise .. The cures of the scuruey…

London, printed by Rob: Young [J. Legate? and E. Purslowe], for Nicholas Bourne, and are to be sold at his shop at the south entrance of the Royall Exchange. 1639.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. pp. [xl], 26, [viii], 27-98, 141-275, [xiii], 301-412, [xii]. (-)1, A⁶ + (-)2, B⁶, (B5+[pi]1), C-F⁴, G⁸, H-O⁴, P⁶, 2A-2R⁴, [par.]⁶, 3A-3O⁴ 3P-3R². 5 leaves of plates (2 folded). Roman letter, some Italic and Gothic. Engraved title, bordered with portraits of famous doctors, the authors portrait below, 4 engraved plates of surgical instruments, one folding letterpress table, woodcut of Mercury on Ll3 recto, full page engraved frontispiece portrait of Charles I on horseback, woodcut alchemical symbols in text, large floriated initials, woodcut headpieces, typographical ornaments, ”Viaticum,” “Of the plague”, and “A treatise of gangrena” with separate dated title pages, with imprint “printed by E.P. for Nicholas Bourne”, pagination and register continuous from “Viaticum”, this copy with an extra ‘Epistle Congratulatory’ to Sir Christopher Clitherow, Governour of the Company of Merchants of London, inserted in first quire, not mentioned in ESTC, but as copy in Kings College London. Early autographs, repeated, of Jonathan and Thomas Paddy on fly and at head of t-p. Light age yellowing, water staining to upper margin, with small tears, outer blank margin of engraved title torn to plate mark and restored, small tear in blank of frontispiece restored, light waterstaining in places, occasional thumb mark, stain or spot. A good, crisp copy with good margins in contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with blind ruled raised bands, head and tail chipped, joints worn, all edges red.

A good copy, unusually complete, of the second edition of ‘The surgeons mate’, the first edition to include all Woodall’s works. John Woodall (1570–1643), a contemporary of Harvey, was an English military surgeon in Lord Willoughby’s regiment in 1591 and later first surgeon-general to the East India Company in 1612, and surgeon to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital from 1616 to 1643. He was also a Paracelsian chemist, businessman, linguist and diplomat. This edition of the Surgeon’s Mate was made required reading for all naval surgeons in the Company. He made a fortune through the stocking of medical chests for the East India Company and later the armed forces of England. The Surgeon’s Mate was the standard text to advise ships surgeons on medical treatments at sea and contains an advanced view on the treatment of scurvy. The first edition was published in 1617. This 1 second edition has the addition of the ‘Viaticum, being the Pathway to the Surgeon’s Chest, intended Chiefly for the better curing of Wounds made by Gunshot; A Treatise… of that most fearefull and contagious Disease called the Plague and A Treatise of Gangrena… chiefly for the Amputation or Dismembering of any Member of the mortified part.’ Woodall provides an extensive inventory and description of the medicines and their uses, of the instruments that the chest of the Surgeon’s Mate should contain, and those that ‘one Barbours case…ought not be Wanting… if the Surgeon’s Mate cannot trimme men.’ He devotes pages 160-176 to ‘the scurvy called in Latine Scorbutum.’ His therapeutic section considers treatments for a variety of symptoms and complications for associated conditions. His preface includes in part the remarkable statement.“[W]e have in our owne country here many excellent remedies generally knowne, as namely, Scurvy-grasse, Horse-Reddish roots, Nasturtia Aquatica, Wormwood, Sorrell, and many other good meanes… to the cure of those which live at home…they also helpe some Sea-men returned from farre who by the only natural disposition of the fresh aire and amendment of diet, nature herselfe in effect doth the Cure without other helps.” At sea, he states that experience shows that “the Lemmons, Limes, Tamarinds, Oranges, and other choice of good helps in the Indies… do farre exceed any that can be carried tither from England.”. These observations anticipated modern knowledge of the properties of vitamin C in regard to scurvy, and of the unstable nature of this vitamin when stored.

“In an effort to remedy these problems, the Company also commissioned Woodall to write a text to help its medical men: the first edition of the very influential work, “The Surgeon’s Mate”, was published in 1617.

A good unsophisticated copy of this important and most interesting work, often incomplete.” Cheryl Fury, Hakluyt Society Annual Lecture 2018.

ESTC S95910. STC 25963. Wellcome 6775; cf. Garrison and Morton 2144. Osler 4273.  Lowndes 2987.


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Historia de los animales mas recebidos en el uso de Medicina.

Madrid, Imprenta Real, 1613.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. [16], 454, [2]. Roman letter, little Greek and Italic; printer’s device on title, foliated and grotesque initials, typographical tail-pieces; a few leaves age browned, dampstain to lower gutter and occasionally to margins, clean tear to p. 259. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, faint contemporary title and shelfmark inked on spine; slightly rubbed; pastedown and endpapers from folded leaves of two manuscript religious treatises; late seventeenth-century inscription ‘Marcelo, esclavo de Jesus, Maria y Joseph’ on title; contemporary shared ex libris of three Spanish monks on penultimate verso, a few marginalia by another contemporary and later hands, including juvenile scribbles on verso of final leaf.

Rare first edition of a curious pharmaceutical compendium concerning the use of animal ingredients. Little is known about Francisco Vélez de Arciñega, a respected chemist and writer active between 1593 and 1624. Born and educated in Toledo, he soon moved to Madrid, probably to work for the Spanish court. Although not at the forefront of the scholarly debate, his medical works in Latin and Spanish were widely read in contemporary Spain, especially his translation of the writings of the Syrian physician Mesue the Younger, died 1050. His Historia de los animals provides a colourful insight into the early seventeenth-century Spanish pharmacopeia. It is divided into five books, dealing with quadrupeds, reptiles, birds, fish and shellfish, illustrating how to take advantage of their healing properties with a bizarre mix of scientific intuition, classical mythology and zoology, religious superstition and trivial folklore.

One of the earliest owners of this copy appears to be a triad of monks, who inscribed their names (‘Frater Antonius a Fonte, Frater Ysidorus de Hombrador, Frater Ferdinandus a Casteston’) into a simple circle before the colophon. The monasteries, at this time, were still the principal dispensary of medicine and remedies, especially for the ordinary people of the Catholic world.

Rare. Not in Wellcome, Heirs of Hippocrates, Garrison and Morton, Bibliotheca Osleriana. BM STC Sp. 17th, V 339; Graesse, VII, 274 (incorrectly as published in 1615); Palau, 357764.



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Libellus de Epidemia, quam vulgo morbum Gallicum vocant.

Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1497.


FIRST EDITION. 4to., 29 leaves, a-c8, d(4+1). Predominantly Roman letter, little Greek; lower outer corner of title slightly soiled, very light marginal water stains. A very good copy in old vellum, recased, gilt title and author’s name on front cover; five marginalia, including a scholarly cutting remark (slightly cropped), in same contemporary probably French hand at head of title ‘Est Meij Jo. Baptis. Loms[?]’.

First edition of the earliest scholarly account of syphilis, by Niccolò Leoniceno (1428-1524), a very influential physician, botanist and scholar of the Italian Renaissance. A skilled student of Greek, Leoniceno taught in Padua before settling in the university and court of Ferrara. Here, he accomplished pioneering translations of the Greek classics, such as Arrian, Diodorus, Appian, Polybius, Cassius Dio and, first and foremost, a large part of Galen’s corpus. Over the course of his extraordinarily long life, Leoniceno was well acquainted with the most prominent scholars of his time, including Pico della Mirandola, Ermolao Barbaro and Angelo Poliziano. Lending Aldus Manutius some of his prized manuscripts, he took an active part in the Aldine Greek editions of Aristotle and Galen.

In 1497, he published De morbo Gallico, following the epidemic in the Italian peninsula after the arrival of the French troops of Charles VIII. The book, dedicated to Gian Francesco Pico della Mirandola, corrects several mistakes of the Arabic medical tradition in identifying and naming diseases and proved that syphilis had been known already to the Greeks and Romans. This and other works by Leoniceno led Erasmus to rate him as one of the few humanists to revive medical studies alongside Guillaume Cop and Linacre. This copy retains the final additional leaf with errata.

ISTC, il00165000; BM STC, V, 557; GW, M17947; Hain, 10019; IGI 6814; Goff, L-165; Klebs, 599.1; Renouard, 14:12 (‘Extrêmement rare, et le premier qui ait été publié sur cette maladie’); Wellcome, 3736; Morton, 2363; Bibliotheca Osleriana, 7452. Not in Durling or Heirs of Hippocrates.


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KETHAM, Johannes de


Fasciculus medici[n]e.

Venice, Cesare Arrivabene, 1522.


Folio, ff. (4), 58 (i.e. 59), (1). Roman letter; title within decorative border, printer’s device on penultimate verso, historiated and black-on-white decorated initials, ten detailed and neat full-page illustrations; a few dust-soiled leaves, minor oil splash on 23r-26v, just affecting one woodcut. A fine copy in crushed dark morocco gilt by Gruel, a. e. g.; several contemporary and late sixteenth-century Italian marginalia, manicula and emendations by different hands; small blue stamp of the Selbourne Library on title verso and foot of 51r. Preserved in slipcase.

Early edition of a masterpiece of the Renaissance art of the book, revised and expanded after the princeps of 1491. Little, if anything, is known about Kentham, who has been identified as Johannes von Kirchheim, a professor from Swabia teaching medicine in Vienna around 1460. Rather than the author of this influential collection of medical essays, he appears to be the owner of the manuscript used by the printer of the first edition who mistakenly took him for the compiler.

The work enjoyed great success and was soon translated into Italian, German and Spanish. This imprint includes Mondino de Luzzi’s Anatomia and the treatise on venoms of his pupil and commentator, Alessandro Achillini; most importantly, it retains all the superb apparatus of illustrations designed for the Italian translation of the Fasciculus published in Venice in 1493 by the de Gregorii brothers, incorporating also the minor changes introduced in the later reprints of 1500 and 1513.

“The typography and artistic qualities of this edition [Venice, 1493] of the Fasciculus make it of interest far beyond the world of medicine. It was the first printed medical book to be illustrated with a series of realistic figures: these include a Zodiac man, bloodletting man, planet man, an urinoscopic consultation, a pregnant woman and notably a dissection scene which is one of the first and finest representation of this operation to appear in any book (…) Most of these figures have medieval prototypes, but they are here designed by an artist of the first rank. His identity has never been discovered; it has been suggested – wrongly – that he was the Polifilo master; but he was certainly an artist close to the Bellini school.” PMM, p. 20.

Uncommon. Not in BM STC It. or Adams. Durling, 2660; Heirs of Hippocrates, 72; Essling, 592; Sandler 3753; PMM, 36 (1493/94).


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