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MERCURIALE, Girolamo (1530–1606)

Praelectiones Pisanae ... In Epidemicas Hippocratis Historias, non minus ad theoricam, atque practicam medicinam utiles, quàm ab eruditionem iucundae. Nec non tractatus [brace] Primò, De hominis generatione. Secondò, de balneis Pisanis. Tertiò, De vino & aqua [end of bracketed section]. Cum Indice copioso eaorum que in his operibus continentur

Venice: apud Iuntas, 1597
Folio: a8 A–Q6 R8; 2A–2D6 2E4; χ2 (χ1 + 3A6), 148 leaves, pp. [16] 208 56 [2] 11 [3]. Roman letter in double columns with italic headings.
Condition: 318 x 215mm. Brown stain in upper-inner corners extending into the text in some leaves; first few leaves worn in corners and foremargin where binding is damaged; small wormholes in outer margins towards the end; headline on last leaf shaved; sheet K3.4
Binding: Contemporary limp vellum. Corners and upper foredge worn away, spine cracked across in one place, somewhat soiled, ties lacking.
Provenance: Signature ‘Octaviani Galleppini I: C:, et Nob: Foros[?]’ on title and 16 marginal annotations, about 120 words in all in the last section (perhaps in a different hand).
First edition. The last gathering is unsigned (in some copies it is signed *, see Adams).
Bibliography: Adams M133; Bruni Celli 2952; Heirs of Hippocrates 360; Wellcome 4249; Durling 3107.

Lectures at the University of Pisa on Hippocrates’ Epidemiorum, and including the text of the cases from books 1 and 3. The volume also contains Mercurale’s remarks on the plague as well as three shorter lectures on conception, the baths and mineral waters of Pisa (second section pp. 1–56), and the medicinal virtues of wine and water. The book was edited by Marco and Orazio Cornacchini.
The main work is dedicated to Ferdinand de Medici. The appended section, possibly printed later as it follows the register and colophon on 2E4v, is addressed to Gian Vincenzo Pinelli of Padua, the great book collector and patron of modern learning. It prints the text of lectures given in Bologna and a ‘Tractatus de Vino et Aqua’. Interestingly it is this treatise on wine and water that is the only part of the work annotated by the contemporary owner of this copy.
The work seems to have been widely used in England, with surviving copies at Merton College and in the Bodleian in Oxford; Trinity, Clare and Caius Colleges in Cambridge; and it was present in the library of the Royal College of Physicians in 1660.
Mercuriale, professor of medicine at Pisa and Bologna, is today best known for his work on gymnastics and the importance of exercise for health, first published in 1569.
Keywords:     practice of medicine    food and drink    therapeutics