“The First Attempt at a Scientific Systematization
of Plants”–D.S.B.


Woodcut printer’s device on title. 183, [21] pp., 2 blank leaves. Small 8vo, cont. blind-stamped panelled pigskin over wooden boards (minor rubbing), bevelled edges, orig. catches & clasps. Cologne: J. Gymnich, 1534.

[bound with]:

BRASAVOLA, Antonio Musa. Examen omnium Simplicium medicamentorum, quorum in officinis usus est. Addita sunt insuper Aristotelis Problemata, quae ad stirpium genus, & oleracea pertinent. 12 p.l., 542 (i.e., 544), [15] pp. Small 8vo. Lyons: J. & F. Frellon, 1537.

I. First edition of one of the most important and rare botanical books of the 16th century; I have been looking for a copy of this work for many years. Cordus (1486-1535), studied medicine at Ferrara under Leoniceno and was appointed professor of medicine at the newly founded University of Marburg by the Hessian landgrave Philip the Magnanimous. “In addition to his work at the university and as a general practitioner, Cordus devoted himself to botany, laid out a botanical garden, and was the first German university professor to organize excursions for studying plants...The Botanologicon is generally considered to be the first attempt at a scientific systematization of plants.”–D.S.B., III, pp. 412-13.

“Of the greatest rarity. E.L. Green, in his ‘Landmarks of Botanical History’ has called attention to the unique interest of this little work in dialogue, and expresses his opinion that it ‘gives a clearer insight into the state of medical botany in Middle Europe in the time of Brunfels, Fuchs, and Tragus (Bock), than could be gathered from the most exhaustive study of those author’s folios themselves...

“In the Botanologicon, written in excellent Latin, Cordus not only was one of the first to call attention to the gross errors of the mediaeval herbal writers in regard to plants, but also gives some interesting information on the University life of his day.”–Weil, Cat. 11, 40.

II. Second edition. Brasavola (1500-55), was “a pupil of Niccolo Leoniceno [and] served as personal physician to Popes Paul III, Leo X, Clement VII, and Julius III; to Emperor Charles V, King Francis I, and King Henry VIII…Among his many works [was] this popular work on herbal medicine, first published in 1536, in which he introduced several new drugs into the pharmacopoeia. The work is in the form of a dialogue among Brasavola, an old apothecary, and an herbalist. It is a lengthy treatise.”–Heirs of Hippocrates 228.

Fine and fresh copies in a most attractive contemporary binding. Signature, dated 1534 or 1539, on title.

❧ I. Morton, History of Botanical Science, p. 126–“a discriminating botanist and something of a pioneer in trying to remove confusion and correct mistakes in the naming of medicinal plants.” II. See Thorndike, Vol. 5, pp. 445-71, who devotes an entire chapter to Brasavola and his pharmaceutical writings.

Price: $15,000.00

Item ID: 6855