Pills, cheese and medical ethics in the 15th century

Pantaleone die Confienza (Confluentia). Pillularium omnibus medicis quam necessarium [...] Summa lacticiniorum completa omnibus idonea. [Including:] Zerbi, Gabriele. Cautele medicorum no[n] inutiles.

(Lyon, Antoine Blanchard [and Laurent Hyllaire], 7 Jan. 1525 [= 1526]).

Small 4to (20 x 14 cm). XXXVIII, (2) ff. Title-page with a 4-piece woodcut border (using material from Laurent Hylaire). Modern limp sheepskin parchment.


Third edition of a collection of three medical and gastronomical texts by two 15th century Italian physicians. All were published separately for the first time at the end of the 15th century, the first collected edition appeared in 1508.

The first, "Pillarium" by Pantaleone di Confienza, is one of the earliest treatises dealing exclusively with pills as remedies for all kinds of diseases. He treats all kinds of aspects of pills, including their various (natural) substances of pills, their various forms (powders, tablets, tinctures, extracts, etc.), their physiological and pathological effects, the preparation and conservation, etc.

The second, "Summa lacticiniorum", by the same author, is the first treatise specifically devoted to cheese and Dalby calls it a "landmark" in the literary discourse for cheese. "It opens with a general section discussing the nature of milk and the range of products made from its, especially cheese; it outlines the variety of cheeses, relating them to the seasons, the climate, the origin of the milk and the methods of making and maturing. In part two Pantaleone surveys the regional and local cheeses known to him, beginning in his own native norther Italy [...] He continues his cheese itinerary through Savoie and across France [...] He thinks little of German cheese, but considers the English ones that he had seen on sale at Antwerp equal in quality to the best Italian kinds" (Dalby).

The third, a treatise on medical ethics by Gabriele Zerbi (1445-1505), aims to protect the integrity of physicians and the medical profession.

Manuscript notes at the last page and a few pages with some underscoring and other marks. Waterstain throughout at the foot, larger towards the end, and the last leaves with wormholes; a good copy.


Baudrier II, 431 & V, 98. Durling 3438. USTC 155658 (9 copies). Cf. Dalby, Cheese: a global history (2009), p. 117; Di Troggio, "Confienza, Pantaleone" in: Treccani Enciclopedia Italiana (online ed.).

Art.-Nr.: BN#50189 Schlagwörter: , , ,