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VESALIUS, Andreas (1514-64). Epistola, docens venam axillarem dextri cubiti in dolore laterali secandam: & melancholicum succum ex venae portae ramis ad sedem pertinentibus, purgari. Basel: Robert Winter, April 1539.
VESALIUS, Andreas (1514-64). Epistola, docens venam axillarem dextri cubiti in dolore laterali secandam: & melancholicum succum ex venae portae ramis ad sedem pertinentibus, purgari. Basel: Robert Winter, April 1539.

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VESALIUS, Andreas (1514-64). Epistola, docens venam axillarem dextri cubiti in dolore laterali secandam: & melancholicum succum ex venae portae ramis ad sedem pertinentibus, purgari. Basel: Robert Winter, April 1539.

4o (202 x 137mm). Collation: A-G4 H6. 34 leaves. Roman type. One full-page woodcut illustration, printer's woodcut device, one 5-line ornamental woodcut initial. (Slightly foxed, minor dampstain in extreme upper margins.) Brown morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.

FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF VESALIUS' RAREST PUBLICATIONS. The letter on venesection "was written for Nicolas Flourens, physician to Charles V, who had queried Vesalius regarding the notes on the azygos vein in Tabulae anatomicae sex [published by Vesalius in 1538]; Flourens wished to know what relation the vein had to the question of bloodletting in cases of pleurisy and pneumonia. Vesalius' letter advocated the new 'classical' method of letting blood near the site of the affliction, a method arousing great controversy among the medical community as it was directly opposed to the traditonal 'revulsive' bleeding taught by the Arabic authorities. Although the classical method was derived from a more accurate reading of Hippocrates and Galen ... the importance of Vesalius' defense of it lies in the authority he gave to his own knowledge of the structure of the venous system -- an important step in his movement away from traditional anatomical concepts" (Norman). The woodcut illustrating the treatise was based on a drawing by Vesalius.

A FINE COPY, complete with the final leaf (the Cushing and Waller copies both lack it). Cushing IV.-1; NLM/Durling 4586; O'Malley, pp. 94-96; Osler 583; Waller 9898; Wellcome 6569; Norman 2136.
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