24 June 2009
ALPINUS, Prosper (1553-1617). De medicina Aegyptiorum. Venice: Francesco dei Franceschi, 1591.
4o (221 x 166 mm). Roman and italic types, woodcut initials, publisher's woodcut device on title, 5 text woodcuts, two of which are full-page. (Trimmed closely, some light browning, occasional minor marginal worming.) Modern vellum, cloth ties. Provenance: Franz von Dietrichstein (1570-1636), Schloss Nikolsburg, Cardinal and Bishop of Olmütz, close adviser to Emperor Rudolf II and key proponent of the Counter Reformation of the Catholic Church (ownership slip pasted underneath imprint on title "Ex Bibliotheca Cardinalis & Principis Dietrichstain.")
FIRST EDITION, title in corrected state (see Mortimer). An important work on the practice of medicine in Egypt. "One of the earliest European studies of non-Western medicine. Alpini's work dealt primarily with contemporary (i.e. Turkish) practices observed during a three-year sojourn in Egypt. These included moxibustion--the production of counter-irritation by placing burning or heated material on the skin--which Alpini introduced into European medicine ... Alpini also mentioned coffee for the first time in this work" (Norman). Adams A-802; Cushing A146; Garrison-Morton 6468; Harvard/Mortimer Italian 16; Heirs of Hippocrates 240 (1646 edn.); NLM/Durling 178; Norman 39; Osler 1796; Waller 12509; Wellcome 232.
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