The first book on smallpox

Razi, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al- (Rhazes) / Alexander Trallianus. [Kitab al-Gadari wa 'l-Hasbah - latine.] Libri duodecim; Razae de pestilentia libellus.

Strasbourg, Rémy Guédon, 1549.

8vo. (48), 662, (2) pp. With woodcut printer's device on title-page, repeated on verso of final leaf. 18th century half calf with marbled boards and title giltstamped to spine.


First Latin edition of this collection, published in Greek by Stephanus in Paris the previous year (itself a translation from Syriac): the twelve books on medicine by Alexander of Tralles, the first parasitologist in medical history (and the younger brother of Anthemius, architect of the Hagia Sophia), issued with al-Razi's classic treatise on smallpox and measles ("Kitab fi al-Jadari wa al-Hasaba"), also known as "Peri loimikes" or "De pestilentia": the first book ever published on smallpox. Indeed, al-Razi was the first physician in the history of medicine to differentiate between smallpox and measles, and consider them as two different diseases. The influence of his diagnostic concepts on Muslim medicine was very clear, especially on Ibn Sina. This work gained great popularity in Europe and was also translated into French, English and German; Brockelmann states it saw some 40 Latin editions between 1498 and 1866.

Al-Razi (also known as Rhazes; 850-923 or 932) is considered the greatest medieval physician next to Avicenna; he also conducted alchemical experiments. According to his biographer al-Gildaki, he was blinded for refusing to share his secrets of chemistry.

Binding lightly rubbed. Light brownstaining throughout, with a waterstain to the upper edge. A misprint has been overpasted with replacement text on pp. 40f. ("imo interdum mors talium potionem comitatur"). Rare; only two copies in auction records internationally since 1950.


VD 16, A 1786. Muller III, 448, 7. Ritter 36. BM-STC German 20. Wellcome I, 209. Durling 148. GAL S I, 419, no. 3. Cf. M. H. Fikri, Treasures from the Arab Scientific Legacy in Europe, No. 44 (Venice 1555 ed.). Not in Adams.

Art.-Nr.: BN#49317 Schlagwörter: , ,