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Westrenen
Tuurdijk 16
3997 MS 't Goy-Houten
Utrecht
The Netherlands
Contact Laurens R. Hesselink
Telephone +31 (0)30 601 1955
Fax +31 (0)30 601 1813
Specialists Maps, Travel & Exploration, Art & Architecture, Autographs, Illustrated Manuscripts, Colour Plate Books, Natural History, Middle East, Emblem Books, Gastronomy, Medicine, Science
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Westrenen
Tuurdijk 16
3997 MS 't Goy-Houten
Utrecht
The Netherlands
Contact Laurens R. Hesselink
Telephone +31 (0)30 601 1955
Fax +31 (0)30 601 1813
Specialists Maps, Travel & Exploration, Art & Architecture, Autographs, Illustrated Manuscripts, Colour Plate Books, Natural History, Middle East, Emblem Books, Gastronomy, Medicine, Science
Antiquariaat Forum BV
Stand K09

One of the first European works on Egyptian medicine

Prosper ALPINUS (Prospero ALPINI).

Medicina Aegyptiorum. Accedunt huic edition ejusdem auctoris libri de balsam & rhapontico. Ut et Jacobi Bontii medicina Indorum.,

Leiden, Cornelis Boutesteyn, 1718-1719. 4 parts in 1 volume. 4to. With general title-page printed in red and black, 7 engraved plates and 1 engraving in text. 20th-century(?) half vellum, with manuscript title on spine and paper sides.

Early 18th-century edition of an important work on Egyptian medicine, written by the Venetian physician and botanist Prosper Alpinus (1553-1617), first published at Venice in 1591. As personal physician to a Venetian consul, Alpinus visited Egypt in 1580 and stayed there for three years. "Primarily an examination of contemporary Egyptian (i.e. Turkish) medicine, it ranks as one of the earliest studies of non-European medicine. Although he took a dim view of local customs, Alpinus was sufficiently impressed by novel therapeutic practices to introduce the technique of moxa into European medicine" (DSB). The work is written in the form of a dialogue with Guilandinus (1520-1589), Alpinus's former professor at the University of Padua, who had also visited Egypt. He also studied Egyptian plants, publishing his findings in another important work: De plantis Aegypti (1592), which contained the first European description of the coffee plant.
Following the Medicina Aegyptiorum are two other works by Alpinus. First is the De balsamo dialogus. "In the form a dialogue involving the author, an Egyptian physician, and a Jew, the source of balsam is discussed and questions are raised concerning its identity, ancient names and medical uses…" (DSB). The other is entitled De rhapontico, concerning the therapeutic properties of rhubarb, written in a similar set up as the previous text.
The work closes with a text by the Dutch physician Jacobus Bontius (1592-1631): De medicina Indorum, libri IV, posthumously published in 1642. Bontius, who regarded tropical medicine as an independent branch of medical science, spend several years in the Dutch East Indies where he studied the local medical practices. The work includes the first European description of beriberi and cholera.
With the bookplate of F.B. Lorch on paste-down, some pencil notes on paste-down and flyleaf and some lines underscored with coloured pencil in quires 2O and 2P, not affecting the legibility of the text. General title-page and some margins slightly thumbed. Corners bumped. Otherwise in very good condition, wholly untrimmed.

[24], 325, [47] pp.; [4], “44” [=42], [4] pp.; 26, [2 blank] pp.; 109, [2], [1 blank] pp.

Bibliography
Blake, p. 12; DSB I, pp. 124-125; Wellcome II, p. 36; cf. Morton 6468 (first edition).
£1,300