De Humano Foetu Libellus. Giulio Cesare ARANZI.

“An Important Book”–Needham

De Humano Foetu Libellus.

Woodcut printer’s device on title. 4 p.l. (last leaf a blank), 79 pp. Small 8vo, somewhat later vellum over boards. Bologna: J. Rubrius, 1564.

First edition of an extremely rare book in which Aranzi (1530-89), professor of anatomy at Bologna, describes his discovery of “the ductus venosus of the fetus that runs to the umbilical cord.”–Castiglioni, A History of Medicine, p. 428. He was the first to state the maternal and foetal circulations were separate, and found the highly oxygenated blood supply was connected from the placenta through the ductus venosus to the foetal circulation.

“His De Humano Foetu was an important book…he was the first to maintain that the maternal and foetal circulations are separate, but he naturally did not, and could not, speak of circulations, since he lived before Harvey. Nor could he have proved his point satisfactorily with the means then at his command, and, as we shall see, it was to take another century before the proof was given. Apart from this valuable contribution to embryology, Arantius gave some admirable anatomical descriptions of the foetal membranes.”–Garrison, A History of Embryology, p. 105.

Aranzi studied medicine under his famous uncle, Bartolomeo Maggi (1477-1552), lecturer in surgery at the University of Bologna. He was also one of the best students of Vesalius (who is mentioned on page 46). Aranzi was, along with Aldrovandi and Fabricius ab Aquapendente, one of the three greatest Italian embryologists of the period. “The excellent scientific and practical preparation Aranzio had received from his uncle immediately brought him fame. He discovered the pedes hippocamp; the cerebellum cistern; and the fourth ventricle, the arterial duct between the aorta and the pulmonary duct…

“In 1564 Aranzio published De humano foetu opusculum, and fifteen years later his Observationes anatomicae appeared. In these he presented the new direction of anatomy, based not merely on simple description of the organs of the body but also on experimental investigations of their functions.”–D.S.B., I, p. 204.

Very good copy preserved in a morocco box. 13 leaves a little wormed in lower outer margin. Some contemporary annotations. This is a rare book; for example, there was no copy in the Norman collection.

❧ Dobson, Anatomical Eponyms, p. 14. Garrison-Morton 464–“Aranzi believed the maternal and foetal circulations to be separate. He described the ductus arteriosus and ductus venosus of the foetus, and the corpora Arantii in the heart valves. Incidentally, he was the first to record a pelvic deformity.”.

Price: $35,000.00

Item ID: 5523

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