MACER FLORIDUS (or AEMILIUS), [pseud., ODO OF MEUNG?]. De viribis [sic] herbarum. [Edited by Guillaume Guéroult]. [Paris: Pierre Gaudoul, c. 1518].
8vo, 135 x 88 mm., seventeenth-century calf, spine gilt, rebacked, original gilt backstrip preserved, endpapers renewed, lacking last leaf blank, a few shoulder notes cropped, some unobtrusive paper restoration to s2-3, occasional minor staining.
Moreau state B, with title woodcut of the crucifixion (instead of printer's device), gothic type, approximately 65 small woodcuts of plants in the text, woodcut initials.
This popular medieval didactic poem, a description in Latin hexameters of 77 or more plants and their properties (the text varies: some editions describe 86, 88, or more plants), was written at some time in the 9th or 10th centuries; a 12th-century manuscript cites as author Odo, Bishop of Meung, but the attribution remains uncertain. First printed in 1477 (the first illustrated edition appearing in 1482), making it the earliest printed herbal, it "is of importance as one of the earliest Western documents showing a revival of interest in botany" (Hunt 22). Most of the many early printed editions are quite rare. The present edition is one of several undated Parisian editions of the early sixteenth century. It is supplemented by the prose commentary of Guillaume Géroult, a professor of medicine at Caen at the end of the fifteenth century, first published c. 1509. All of these early Paris editions share the same collation and are illustrated with the same small woodcuts, copied closely from the Grant herbier and Gart der Gesundheit cuts. VERY RARE.
Adams O-57; Moreau 1887; cf. Hunt 22 (1522 Baquelier edition).
Provenance: Scattered early marginalia -- René Marsolin, inkstamp on title -- Robert de Belder.