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First edition

Pedanius DIOSCORIDE & Marcellus VERGILIUS Pedacii Dioscoridae Anazarbei de Medica materia Libri sex [Traité de matière médicale]


Pedacii Dioscoridae Anazarbei de Medica materia Libri sex [Traité de matière médicale]

Filippo Giunta, Florence 1518, in-folio (21x32,5cm), (6 f.) 352 ff. (6 f.), relié.

| Longest-lasting pharmacology book by a Humanist scholar |
Filippo Giunta | Florence 1518 | folio (21 x 32,5 cm) | [6] 352 [6] p. | pastiche renaissance binding
First edition of the Marcello Virgilio translation in Latin, dedicated to Leo X. The princeps edition was based on an old translation by Petrus de Abano (ca. 1250-1316), and published in 1478 in Colle di Val d'Elsa. The original text was written in Greek around 60 AD.
Title page in red and black. 45 lines per page. Colophon : "Florentiæ per hæredes Philippi Iuntæ Florentini. Anno ab incarnatione Domini.1518. Idibus Octobris. Leone decimo Christiana[m] Rempub. gerente." Superb Filippo Giunta printer's device on verso of last leaf. Bibliographical note in French opposite the title page.

So-called “archaeological” artistic binding made by Olivier Maupin, a tribute to the skills of Renaissance bookbinders, spine with visible raised bands, headband and endband, spine covered with antique printed paper, wooden boards, the first of which covered with a humanist cover from the 16th century, all edges slightly bluish. A lack of a small piece of paper skillfully filled on the title page, and the margins of the first endpapers have been restored. A few pages at the end of the volume shows a few discreet wormholes - without affecting the text. The copy has been thoroughly cleaned.
We have not been able to find any copy of this important edition in trade records, except in the catalogue of a nineteenth-century German bookshop (Ernest Heinemann, Offenbach am Mein, 1840).
Provenance: Crowned monogram H.O. and library stamp of Prince Nicolas Petrovitch of Oldenburg (1840-1886) on the title page. He was the great-grandson of Emperor Paul I, through his daughter Catherine Pavlovna (1788-1819) who married George of Oldenburg. His sister Alexandra married Grand Duke Nicholas, son of Emperor Nicholas I. His nephew Peter of Oldenburg married Grand Duchess Olga, daughter of Emperor Alexander III.
De Materia Medica, made up of six books, describes more than 800 substances of natural origin (mostly plant-based, but also animal and mineral), giving their description, how to harvest them and their medicinal properties.
This veritable encyclopedia, originally written by Dioscorides in the second half of the 1st century AD, was, from the first years of its diffusion, praised by the greatest minds of the Roman Empire: Galen himself considered Dioscorides' descriptions unsurpassable and deemed no longer necessary to set about writing pharmacopoeial works.
The text circulated throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages through copies of the Greek text on papyrus, parchment and paper and through translations into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persian and European languages.
However, this massive transmission led to significant misinterpretations which were highlighted by Humanists of the Renaissance.

« Humanism is another feature of the Renaissance that gave to the history of the biological sciences a very special aspect. Stricly speaking, Humanism is a voluntary and unreserved return to ancient science. The intellectual culture that prevailed in the 16th century was one of respect for tradition and the authority of the Classics. The literary and artistic movement which developed alongside the scientific movement was even more obvious in this respect. At the beginning of the Natural Sciences we find this tradition and authority firmer than anywhere else. Thus the work of scholars bears fruit that they had not always foreseen. Thanks to them, editions and translations of the old works of Natural History began to flow in. […] Marcellus Vergilius again translated Dioscorides. […]  The entire host of Italian, German, French and English Humanists works to make ancient works better known, which were, in the middle of the 16th century, as well understood as today. » (Émile Callot, La Renaissance des sciences de la vie au XVIe siècle)

A rare copy of this important pharmacological work, emblematic of the determination of Renaissance humanists to rediscover the sources of the Ancients and ensure the survival of their texts.

8 000 €

Réf : 66812



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