24 June 2009
[DIOSCORIDES]. AMATUS LUSITANUS. Pseudonym of Joao Rodrigues, de Castelo Branco (1511-1568). In Dioscoridis Anazarbei de Medica Materia libros quinque. Lyons: Matthiam Bonhomme, sub Claua Aurea, 1558.
8o (162 x 109 mm). Woodcut illustrations throughout. Contemporary calf, covers decorated with broad blindstamped borders (recased to style preserving the original panels). Provenance: Early Spanish and Latin inscription dated 20th December 1739 on an early blank.
FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION, a re-issue with a new imprint on the title-page, the colophon retaining the original imprint of the "Vidua Balthazaris Arnolleti." Rodrigues, who adopted the humanistic name Amatus Lusitanus, was a physician and surgeon of Jewish-Spanish origin. He was Mattioli's rival as an editor and commentator on Dioscorides (fl. A.D. 50-70), and fell victim to his wrath: "Through charges levelled by Mattioli, Amatus (whose name Mattioli persisted in altering to Amathus, meaning simpleton) was hunted from place to place by the Inquisition. He finally obtained refuge in the Jewish colony in Salonica, but lost his livelihood, his reputation, and the manuscript of the translation of Avicenna that he had nearly completed"
(Anderson, An illustrated history of the herbals). Adams A-942; Pritzel 124; Wellcome I. 262.
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