6 December 2004
FRACASTORO, Girolamo (1478-1553). De sympathia et antipathia rerum liber unus. De contagione et contagiosis morbis et curatione libri iii. Venice: Heirs of Lucantonio Giunta, 1546.
4o (201 x 131 mm). 4 leaves (final leaf blank), foliated. Italic type. Woodcut printer's device on title-page and at end, numerous woodcut initials. Modern quarter morocco. Provenance: indecipherable inscription on title; Pet. Arcelin, Macon France, Medical faculty of Montpelier and Paris (armorial bookplate on pastedown and *2r).
RARE FIRST EDITION OF "THE FOUNDATION OF ALL MODERN VIEWS ON THE NATURE OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES" (Heirs of Hippocrates). Perhaps less known than his poem, Syphilis, De sympathia is Fracastoro's important contribution to science, establishing him as the founder of modern epidemiology. "In it he clearly describes numerous contagious diseases, with chapters of principal interest, such as that on phthisis, whose contagion and affinity for the lungs he affirms. In the work's most significant part Fracastoro illustrates the three means by which contagion can be spread: by simple contact (as in scabies and leprosy); by fomities, corresponding to carriers (clothing, sheets); and at a distance, without direct contact or carriers (as in plague, smallpox, and the like" (DSB). Garrison-Morton describe the work as "a landmark in the development of our knowledge of infectious disease." Adams F-821; BM/STC Italian p. 275; Cushing F275; Heirs of Hippocrates 101; Garrison-Morton 2528; NLM/Durling 1636; Norman 827; Osler 2652; Waller 3163; Wellcome I:2393.
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