FRACASTORO, Girolamo (ca.1478-1553). Syphilis sive morbus gallicus. Verona [i.e., Venice?]: [Stefano Nicolini da Sabbio], August 1530.
4o (209 x 142 mm). Collation: a-e8. 40 leaves, the last 4 blank. Italic type, initial spaces with guide letters. (Minor dampstaining.) Modern morocco antique, covers with blind and gilt fillet borders, spine and board edges gold-tooled. Provenance: extensive contemporary marginalia; Regensburg, Schottenstift (1604 inscription on first page of first work in the Sammelband); Schwarzach Abbey (19th-century inkstamps on front flyleaf and first page of first work); anonymous consignor, Sotheby's, 4 July 1977, lot 125 (since rebound).
FIRST EDITION of Fracastoro's mock-heroic poem on syphilis. An esteemed physician and philosopher from a patrician Veronese family, Fracastoro earned lasting fame for this "most famous of all medical poems... probably the only poem for which a disease has been named" (Heirs of Hippocrates). The first two books were written as early as 1510-1512, and offered to Cardinal Pietro Bembo, to whom the first edition is dedicated. Fracastoro's mythological tale relates the woes of the young shepherd Sifilo, upon whom Apollo has inflicted the disease as punishment for an offense. His misdeed is forgiven, and remedies are produced, namely the guaiacam tree and mercury. "The poem, drafted in exquisite Latin hexameter, occupies a prominent place in the literature of the times and represents a magnificent paradigm of formal sixteenth-century virtuosity... The ample and exhaustive description of the various luetic manifestations demonstrates Fracastoro's lucid knowledge of the clinical events and the related course of the illness" (DSB). Fracastoro discusses the possible origins of the disease, which he recognizes as venereal. Beyond its medical significance, the poem gives a vivid picture of the hardships of life in 16th-century Italy; it also contains several references to America, including an allegorical description of the discovery of the West Indies by the Spanish and their encounter with both the disease and guaiacum. Fracastoro rejected the theory of an American origin for the disease. Enormously popular, De morbo gallico was widely reprinted: over 100 editions are recorded.
During the years 1528-1532 Nicolini da Sabbio and his brothers published a variety of works at Verona while maintaining a press in their native Venice. The large italic type of the present edition--the first italic type ever printed, first used by Aldus Manutius in his 1500 edition of the Epistolae of St. Catherine of Siena--was used for an edition of Bembo's Rime published in 1530 at Venice by Nicolini's brother Antonio; for this reason Baumgartner and Fulton suggest that the present work may in fact have been printed in Venice.
A FRESH, LARGE COPY, PRESERVED IN ITS ORIGINAL SAMMELBAND, tastefully rebound. Adams F-826; Alden & Landis 530/14; Baumgartner and Fulton 1; NLM/Durling 1641; Garrison-Morton-Norman 2364; Heirs of Hippocrates 171; Norman 826; Osler 4817; Stillwell III, 369; Waller 3173; Wellcome 2391.
BEMBO, Pietro, Cardinal (1470-1547). De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetha Gonzagia Urbini ducibus liber.-De Aetna.-De Virgilii Culice et Terentii fabulis. - PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA, Giovanni Francesco (1469?-1533). Ad Petrum Bembum De imitatione libellus. Venice: Giovanni Antonio et fratres de Nicolini de Sabio, 1530.
4o. 4 parts in one, separately paginated, separate caption titles and colophons. All blank leaves present. Italic type, initial spaces with guide letters. Adams B-585, B-584, B-586, and P-1150 (the latter bound first); BM/STC Italian p. 80.
SAUERMANN, Georg (1492?-1527). Ad Hispanos oratio. Rome: Jacobus Mazochius, May 1522. 4o. Collation: a-c4 d6. 17 leaves (of 18, without d6 blank). Not in Adams, BMC, or RLIN.