First edition of this "first 'medical dictionary' - an invaluable storehouse of facts - and fancies" (Wightman)

Brunfels, Otto. Onomastikon medicinae.

Strasbourg, Johann Schott, (14 April) 1534.

Folio (212 x 308 mm). (186) ff. With full-page woodcut on fol. 6v showing Saints Cosmas and Damian, the patron saints of physicians. Contemporary full vellum binding.


First edition of this Renaissance dictionary of natural science compiled by Otto Brunfels, the "father of German botany", best known for pioneering the emancipation of that field from medieval herbalism. "Brunfels' passion for compiling and organizing reference material [...] was fully exhibited in his 'Onomastikón', a comprehensive dictionary containing a wealth of material related to medicine, botany, alchemy, and metrology" (DSB). Designed "for the use of physicians and apothecaries" (ibid.), the volume bears ample witness to the pre-eminence of Arabic medicine during the Middle Ages and early modern period, including a long discussion of Galenus, whose works were channeled into the West mainly through Arabic scholars, and entries on Ibn Sina (Avicenna), "natione Arabs, [...] a medicis Princeps vocatur", as well as Ibn Rushd (Averroes), "Avicennae coaevus, multae eruditionis philosophus et medicus, qui cum maxima laude et ipse Aristotelis libros est commentatus".

Insignificant browning with very slight brownstaining and worming near end (confined to margins); a few occasional humanist annotations with an 18th century handwritten note of acquisition (purchased from sale of the Wille library in St Petersburg) on the rear pastedown. A good, tight copy.


VD 16, B 8525. Adams B 2928. BM-STC German 156. DSB II, 537. Ferchl 73. Wellcome I, 1106. Wightman 112.