DIOSCORIDES, PEDACIUS. De medicinali materia libri sex. [Trans. by Jean de la Ruelle, Comm. by W.H. Ryff and V. and E. Cordus]. Frankfurt: Christian Egenolph, April 1549.
Folio, 296 x 190mm. (11 5/8 x 7 1/2 in.), later vellum, nienteenth-century ink lettering on spine, stained, hinges starting, endpapers renewed, lacking final leaf z8 with printer's device, title-leaf laid down and with hole in margin from effaced inscription, A3.4 coming unsewn, a few minor marginal tears or repairs, some discoloration, occasional marginal dampstaining, marginal soiling.
Roman type, commentaries in italic, index of German names in gothic type, printer's sacred flame device on title, 786 WOODCUTS of plants, animals, seashells, etc., COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND, eight-line and smaller white-on-black woodcut initials.
Second illustrated edition, containing 191 more illustrations than the first illustrated edition of 1543, and with the addition of the commentaries of Valerius and Euricius Cordus, edited by Conrad Gessner, whose "Nomenclatur" is also included.
"If to have written the most practically serviceable book of botany that the world of learning knew of during sixteen centuries were the best title to botanical greatness, to Diskorides would readily be conceded the absolute supremacy over all other botanists...From the year 1516, when the first excellent translation by Ruelle appeared, Latin versions became numerous [nine more editions of his translation appeared before 1550]; and for a whole century thereafter the most voluminous and most useful books of botany were in the form of commentaries on Dioskorides..." (Hunt I, 50 [1543 edition], citing E.L. Greene, Landmarks of Botanical History [Washington D.C. 1909]).
The majority of the smaller woodcuts were first used in Rösslin's Kreüterbuch, printed by Egenolph in 1533. The larger plant woodcuts are based on the cuts used in Brunfels's and Fuchs's herbals.
Adams D664; Nissen BBI 496; Pritzel 2308; Ahumada 30.
Provenance: Occasional contemporary marginalia in brown ink giving alternate Latin names for plants; some later German marginalia in pencil; a few underlinings in colored pencils; effaced early inscription on title; M. Herwegh, inscription on title; with K.F. Koehlers (Leipzig), bookseller's catalogue description pasted down on front endpaper, sold (probably in 1937, date inscribed below), to: Juan Carlos Ahumada, bookplate; the present owner.