PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF A SOUTHERN COLLECTOR
ALPINUS, Prosper (1553-1617). De medicina Aegyptiorum, libri quatuor. --De plantis Aegypti liber. Venice: Francesco dei Franceschi, 1591-1592.
2 works in 3 parts in one volume, 4o (245 x 172 mm). Woodcut initials, text illustrations including two full-page woodcuts of medical treatments and 38 full-page woodcuts in De plantis. (Title with gutter margin renewed, two sectional titles with publisher's device excised, marginal dampstain and browning affecting text in first and last few gatherings, few wormholes, one with loss of letters in D5-E6, lacking blank Bb6.) Contemporary calf (heavily restored); folding box. Provenance: Vitus ? (ownership inscription dated 1593 on title, marginalia throughout).
FIRST EDITIONS OF THE FIRST WORKS ON THE MEDICINE AND ON THE PLANTS OF EGYPT, first title in the second state. De medicina is "one of the earliest European studies of non-Western medicine. Alpini's work dealt primarily with contemporary (i.e. Turkish) practices observed during a three-year sojourn in Egypt. These included moxibustion--the production of counter-irritation by placing burning or heated material on the skin--which Alpini introduced into European medicine" (Norman). It was on this sojourn also that Alpini gathered his botanical data, and De plantis is probably his best-known work; it introduces coffee, the boabab tree and bananas for the first time to Europeans. The second part of De plantis is an account of balsam which was first printed in 1591. Garrison-Morton 6468; Harvard/Mortimer Italian 16; Hunt 161 & 164; Norman 39; Wellcome I:232-3.