4to, pp. , 752, [16 (index)]; woodcut device to title, initials, woodcut diagram to p. 287 and illustrations of instruments to pp. 701-702; some worming (mostly marginal, occasionally touching text) and browning, occasional marginal damp staining; overall good in contemporary calf, gilt fillet borders and oval wreath centrepieces to covers, spine in compartments lettered in gilt and with gilt floral stamps; joints split but holding, covers rubbed, wear to edges and corners, some worming to rear pastedown and board; ink inscriptions to title ‘Ex libris Francisci Felici (?)’ and ‘Carolus Seron d[octor] m[edicinae]’, inscription to front pastedown ‘Ex libris Felicii Taillii (?)’, MS marginalia in French and Latin to over 70 pages, occasional underlining.
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Aurelii Cornelii Celsi de re medica libri octo. Accessere in primum eiusdem, Hieremiae Thriveri Brachelii commentarii doctissimi: in reliquos vero septem, Balduini Ronssei Gandensis ... enarrationes.
Important Plantin edition of the De medicina of the first-century Roman encyclopaedist Celsus, accompanied with humanist commentary, this copy with annotations and with the ownership inscription of Charles Seron, doctor to Louis XIV.
Celsus is one of our best sources concerning medical knowledge in the Roman world, and, extraordinary as it may seem, ‘much of the practice [he] described was not superseded until the nineteenth century’ (Oxford Companion to Classical Literature). In this edition, his text is glossed with abundant commentary by the Flemish physicians Jérémie de Dryvere (1504–1554) and Baudouin Ronsse (d. 1596).
This copy has numerous marginal annotations, mostly in French, by one Franciscus Felicius. His notes to book 1 show an interest in the stomach and the effects of cold, while those to book 2 demonstrate a particular concern for symptoms of illness – including fevers, loss of weight around the waist, and abnormal urine – as well as veins.
It later passed into the hands of Charles Seron (d. 1692), who served as physician to François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois, Secretary of State for War, and then to Louis XIV at Versailles. Seron was twice accused of poisoning: firstly one Vanden Meersche in order to marry his widow, and secondly Louvois himself. The gossipy memoirist Saint-Simon even claimed that Seron had confessed to Louvois’ murder in his death throes.
Adams C1249; Wellcome I, 1405.
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