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Extremely rare variant edition

Yuhanna (Yahya) Abu Zakariya ibn Masawaih (Mesue). De re medica, libri tres. Jacobo Sylvio medico interprete.

Paris, Jacques Gazeau (Gazellus), 1544.

Folio (220 x 300 mm). (16), 50 pp., (1 blank leaf), 51-350 pp. (Bound with) II: Sylvius, Jacques. De medicamentorum simplicium delectu, praeparationibus, mistionis modo, libri tres [...]. Ibid., 1542. (4), 60 ff. Contemporary full limp vellum with handwritten title to flat spine on five bands. Remains of ties along all edges.

Second edition of this Latin version of Mesue's pharmaceutical handbook, translated by Jacques Dubois, the teacher of Vesalius. An extremely rare variant edition with the imprint of Gazellus but repeating Wechel's 1542 privilege on the verso of the title-page.

The author's frequently reprinted treatises bore an immense influence on the development of pharmacy in early modern Europe. Although the identity of Masawaih (Mesue) remains unclear, he was likely a Persian Christian physician who headed the Baghdad hospital and served as personal physician to several caliphs (though he may also be a collective pseudonym of several Arabic medical writers of the 10th and 11th centuries). Products of the mediaeval Islamic world, the works attached to his name contained many innovations that provided the basis for the theory and practice of pharmacy for centuries and perfectly met the demands of the developing medical marketplace of mediaeval Europe. The appended pharmaceutical work by Dubois himself, similarly rare, is here published in its first edition.

Some dampstaining to margin of the first 100 or so leaves; occasional light brownstains. Contemporary binding somewhat wrinkled; lower spine-end chipped with loss; wants first flyleaf.

Provenance: 1) Later 16th-century handwritten provenance note on title-page, stating the book to be the gift of Jean Floriet, pharmacist from Beaune, and 2) ownership "M. de la Crois", i.e., the French physician Marc de La Croix (ca. 1550-1634) from Pont-de-Vaux in Burgundy, who has also added a few annotations to Sylvius's treatise. 3) Late 18th century printed bookplate of "P. Bourgeois D.M.M." to pastedown. 4) Two illegible later ownerships to title-page, one in pencil, the other apparently a signature stamp. A fine copy.

I: OCLC 799717807. Adams Y 13; BM-STC French 449; Durling 3141 (all under Wechel's imprint). Not in Wellcome. Cf. GAL I, 232; S I, 416. Hirsch I, 171f.

II: BM-STC French 141. Not in Adams, Durling or Wellcome.