1528 Medicinae (De Medicina) by Aulus Cornelius, Medicinalis by Quintus Serenus


Two Roman medical works, printed by the Aldine press in 1528: Aulus Cornelius Celsus' De Medicina is printed in its eight books, and added behind is Quintus Serenus Sammonicus' Liber Medicinalis; both are Roman works of medicine, the Aulus written circa 30 A.D., and the Serene written circa 200 A.D..

While Aulus' work is a more scholarly medicinal work, Serenus' work includes more folk remedies, including the famous "abracadabra", for treatment of fever. On page 161 (mis-printed as "163"; "abraca cabra" last paragraph of the recto side of the leaf) Serenus describes wearing an amulet, with the word inscribed on it, to ward off fevers.

About the Works -

Celsus’ work's encyclopedic arrangement follows the tripartite division of medicine at the time as established by Hippocrates and Asclepiades — diet, pharmacology, and surgery. It is divided into eight books.

Book 1 – The History of Medicine (includes references to eighty medical authors, some of whom are known only through this book

Book 2 – General Pathology

Book 3 – Specific Diseases

Book 4 – Parts of the Body

Book 5 and 6 – Pharmacology

Book 7 – Surgery

Book 8 – Orthopedics

His work contains detailed descriptions of the symptoms and different varieties of fever, and he is credited with recording the cardinal signs of inflammation known as "Celsus tetrad of inflammation": calor (warmth), dolor (pain), tumor (swelling) and rubor (redness and hyperaemia).

He goes into great detail regarding the preparation of numerous ancient medicinal remedies including the preparation of opioids. In addition, he describes many 1st century Roman surgical procedures which included removal of a cataract, treatment for bladder stones, and the setting of fractures.

Serenus’ De medicina praecepta, in 1115 hexameters, contains a number of popular remedies, borrowed from Pliny the Elder and Pedanius Dioscorides, and various magic formulae, amongst others the famous abracadabra, as a cure for fever and ague. It concludes with a description of the famous antidote of Mithridates VI of Pontus. It was much used in the Middle Ages, and is of value for the ancient history of popular medicine.

About the Printer -

The Aldine Press was the printing office started by Aldus Manutius in 1494 in Venice, from which were issued the celebrated Aldine editions of the classics (Latin and Greek masterpieces, plus a few more modern works). The first book that was dated and printed under his name appeared in 1495.

The Aldine Press is famous in the history of typography, among other things, for the introduction of italics. The press was the first to issue printed books in the small octavo size, similar to that of a modern paperback, and like that intended for portability and ease of reading.   According to Curt F. Bühler, the press issued 132 books during twenty years of activity under Aldus Manutius. After Aldus’s death in 1515, the press was continued by his wife Maria and her father, Andrea Torresani, until his son, Paulus Manutius (1512–1574) took over.

Bibliographic Details -

Universal Short Title Catalogue reference number 821545. Not rare, found in many of the world's best libraries.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 21 x 14 x 2.5 cm, octavo. Vellum binding; manuscript title on spine. Printer's device on title and colophon.

Pages - 8 prefatory leaves, 164 numbered leaves (some mis-numbering)

Collation - *8, a-s8, t4, u-x8

Condition -

See pictures. Older vellum binding with typical waves, spots, etc and slightly out of squre; two cuts on spine and with manuscript title. Some worming at gutter/hinges of endpapers. Many notes, library stamps, bookseller marks, etc to blank endpapers.

Text block a little shaken (not tight in binding, but not disbound). Library stamp and 1710 dated ownership annotation on title page; also a note in the title.

Some thumbing and toning throughout. Occasional thumb, page edge chip, dog-eared corner, fox spot, etc.. Trimmed marginal annotations through first four books of Aulus. Occasional worm holes in text block. Ink annotation on *ii from iron ink gall. Crack at gutter (still held by binding cords) at gutter between contents and page 1. Ink spots on page 4, 61/62 (margin). (Coffee?) spots inner margin 63-66, touches text. Moisture mark just at bottom corner, mostly back half. Moisture spots at bottom margin from s gathering to rear. Ink smudge u6. Chip bttm corner last leaf, toned too.

Collates complete, all leaves present.

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