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First edition of “the first actual dispensatory”, with 271 numbered medicines


De compositionibus medicamentorum liber unus, ...
(Colophon: Paris, Simon Du Bois, October 1528). Folio (29 x 20 cm). With Du Bois's woodcut tree and 2 birds device at the end with motto, about 40 woodcut decorated initials (7 series?) plus about 100 repeats. Set in roman types with some preliminaries in an Aldine-style italic (with upright capitals) and occasional words in Greek. Recent parchment.

€ 12,500

First edition, in the original Latin, of "the first actual dispensatory" (Schelenz), written in the Emperor Claudius's Rome in AD 47, prepared for publication by the French physician and botanist Jean Ruel (ca. 1474/79-1537). It describes the preparation and use of 271 drugs and other medicines and was a standard source for nearly all later dispensaries and pharmacopoeia far into the 17th century. It includes the first accurate description of the preparation of opium, the first known account of electro-shock therapy (using a torpedo fish, a kind of ray, as a source of electrical discharge to remedy headaches) and the therapeutic drinking of one's own blood.
The colophon notes that it was published by Simon Du Bois in October 1528 and the tree device at the end may allude to his name. Du Bois and Ruel had apparently studied together but Du Bois came under fire as a heretic and had to flee Paris in 1529, moving to Alençon.
With a couple long contemporary manuscript notes in brown ink. With some faint stains at the foot, reaching the text only in the first preliminary quire, and a couple very minor marginal defects, but otherwise in fine condition and with large margins (2-5.5 cm). Binding also fine.
Durling 910; Garrison & Morton 1785 & 1984.1; Schelenz, Geschichte der Pharmazie, pp. 165-166; D. J. Shaw, "New dates in the career of Simon Du Bois, ...", in: Yale University Gazette, 67 (1992), pp, 32-36; USTC 146032; Wellcome I, 5893.

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Islamic culture  >  Medicine & Science