Commentary on the Qanun

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) / Da Monte, Giovanni Battista. In primi lib. canonis Avicenna primam fen, profundissima commentaria. Adiecto nuper secundo, quod numquam antea fuerat typis excusum; de membris capite.

Venice, Vincenzo Valgrisi & Baldassarre Costantini, 1558.

8vo. (32), 651, (1) pp. Contemporary half vellum over pigskin with handwritten spine title and shelfmark.


Second posthumous edition (by Giano Matteo Durastante) of the extensive commentary on book (kitab) 1, part (fen) 1 of Avicenna's systematic "Canon of Medicine" by one of the leading Renaissance humanist physicians of Italy, Giambattista da Monte (1498-1551), first published in 1557. A corrected and enlarged edition of the work previously edited by W. Lublin and published in Venice in 1554. "The newly added chapter De membris (p. 553-605) is followed by 2 others: De facultatibus and De virtutibus naturalibus ministrantibus" (Durling).

Avicenna's Arabic "Qanun" was widely translated throughout the Middle Ages and remained the basis of medical training in the West as late as the mid-17th century. It continues in use to this day in parts of the Arab world. Through this encyclopedic work, the author exerted "perhaps a wider influence in the eastern and western hemispheres than any other Islamic thinker" (PMM). "The 'Qanun' [...] contains some of the most illuminating thoughts pertaining to distinction of mediastinitis from pleurisy; contagious nature of phthisis; distribution of diseases by water and soil; careful description of skin troubles; of sexual diseases and perversions; of nervous ailments" (Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science). The present part offers a definition of medicine and is mainly dedicated to a discussion of the four humours and temperaments.

Binding slightly wormed; vellum somewhat creased. Paper occasionally wormed and waterstained.


Edit 16, CNCE 15945. Wellcome I, 4428. OCLC 1157690416. Cf. Durling 3273, Adams M 1681 (1557 ed.), PMM 11. Not in BM-STC Italian, Osler, Waller, or Garrison/M.

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