Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”. Maximus Fidelis STEIGENDESCH.
Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”
Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”
Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”
Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”
Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”
Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”

“Executioner Medicine”

Manuscript on paper, written in one neat and legible hand throughout, entitled “Hortus Sanitatis das ist Gesundheits Garten. Darinnen Unterschiedliche Areol & Feldlein und Bettlein anzutreffen, aus denen zu der Gesundheit bestens dienenende Früchten und Mittel können Colligiret werden, alles dises ist in vier Bücher abgetheilt…alles aus den bewehrtesten Autoribus genommen.”

Calligraphic general title, two calligraphic divisional titles for Parts II and III, & some decorative vignettes, all in pen & ink. Each page with a ruled border. Three parts in one vol. 4 p.l., 1557 pp., 16 leaves. Thick folio (355 x 215 mm.), cont. blindstamped pigskin over heavy wooden boards, orig. clasps & catches. Ochsenhausen, Upper Swabia: 1775-[85].

One of the most remarkable and seemingly contradictory items I have had: a medical manuscript on the subject of health and materia medica, written by a town executioner. Well into the 19th century, executioners, who had considerable knowledge of the human anatomy from their work as hangmen, beheaders, and torturers, also served as medical healers. They enjoyed considerable social and medical respectability.

We know of many executioner-bonesetters and executioner-physicians in medical history. This dual role became known as “executioner medicine.” Frequently they had a superior knowledge of anatomy and medicine in comparison to local doctors. And oftentimes these executioners, as in the case of Steigendesch, also had a great knowledge of herbal medicines.

Maximus Fidelis Steigendesch (1730-1810), came from a family of executioner-physicians, knackers, and skinners, active especially in Swabia in southern Germany; his father, Johann Georg (1711-?), had held the same position. Some members of the family spelled their last name as Deigendesch. On the finely executed title-page of this manuscript treatise, Steigendesch rather proudly describes himself as “Justitiae Executore in und zu Ochsenhausen” (“Executor of the Law in and at Ochsenhausen”). According to the Foreword, his love of medicine goes back to his ancestors, who employed their knowledge of the healing arts in surgery and horse medicine. He expressly mentions Johann Deigendesch (1670-1747), executioner at nearby Balingen, who wrote Schau-Saal der Arzeney-Kunst, first published by Cotta at Tübingen in 1719. In 1716, this same Deigendesch also first published a treatise on horse medicine, Nachrichters nützliches und aufrichtiges Pferd- oder Ross-Arzneybuch, which saw several editions through 1790.

In 1793, Maximus Fidelis wrote another medical manuscript, entitled “Comes Medicus oder Medicinischer Reise-Begleiter,” in which he describes himself as “a lover of medical science.” This was a much smaller manuscript, also prepared at Ochsenhausen, and was sold in May 1965 by Karl & Faber in Munich (auction 105, lot no. 378).

The present massive and imposing manuscript contains the largest and richest collection of pharmaceutical recipes I have yet encountered; it is important to add that the arrangement makes it easy to use, and the handwriting is extremely neat and legible.

The manuscript begins with a detailed Foreword, in which Steigendesch gives the reader a general summary of the history of medicine and describes the special relationship his family has always had with the art of healing.

Part I (pp. 1-36) contains five chapters, on methods of determining illness by taking the pulse, examination of urine, bloodletting, cupping, and analysis of the patient’s diet. The second part (pp. 37-185), entitled “Fabrica receptorum,” describes the actual methods of preparing emulsions, infusions, decoctions, ointments, electuaries, pills, powders, etc.

The third, and by far the largest, part (pp. 159-1490) — “Selectus materiae medicae experimentalis” — provides an alphabetical list of medications and ailments, from “Abluentia” (a complex cleaning and purifying agent) to “Zwerchfells-Entzündung” (paraphrenitis). Thousands of diseases of all parts of the body, afflicting all ages, are listed, with several pharmaceutical recipes provided for each. The constituents of each recipe and its formulation are clearly given.

Pages 1491-1557 comprise a list of all medications described in this treatise, for the most part drawn from the Pharmacopoea Wirtenbergica, and dated 1785 in a chronogram. The entire work is made accessible by a detailed 16-leaf index.

In excellent condition. Front paste-down endpaper with the bookplate of the library at Sommershausen near Ochsenhausen.

Price: $35,000.00

Item ID: 7700