ERASTUS, Thomas. Disputationum de medicina nova Philippi Paracelsi Pars Prima [-quarta]. Basle, Peter Perna, -73.
A fine copy in contemporary blind-stamped German pigskin of the rare complete set of first editions of the complete four parts of Erastus’ famous work, with most of the surviving copies comprising two or three parts only.
‘The first comprehensive refutation of the Paracelsians was that of the Swiss physician and theologian, Thomas Erastus. He had been commissioned by the Duke of Saxony for this purpose, and in 1572-73 the four parts of his Disputationes de Medicina nova Paracelsi appeared in print ... Erastus was willing to grant to Paracelsus some credit for his ability as a chemist and for pointing out some errors in Galen, but in general Erastus stood as the foremost sixteenth-century defender of medieval tradition .
‘Erastus was utterly opposed to the philosophic system of Paracelsus. The neo-Platonic unification of the corporeal and the spiritual with their continuous transition and conversion was objectionable to him for theological reasons. He could not accept the opinion of Paracelsus that Creation could be likened to a chemical separation. Furthermore, he castigated Paracelsus for his conception of the microcosm ... For his part, Erastus held firmly to the traditional elements, and stated that if the chemical art does not decompose samples to the three principles, it does decompose them to the four elements ... It was his view that Paracelsus had made his fundamental mistake in his concept of “element”. In his belief in the noncorporeality of an “element” he was led to conceive of it as similar in nature to the spirit or soul of a substance, a concept which Erastus vigorously denied’ (Debus, The English Paracelsians p. 39).
MARZIO, Galeotto (MARTIUS Galeotti). De homine libri duo. Georgi Merulae Alexandrine in Galeotum annotationes. Cum indicibus utrobiq[ue] contentoru[m] & copiosissimis & certissimis. [Colophon:] Basle, Johann Froben, May, 1517.
First Froben edition of Marzio’s work on human anatomy, the first printing of the sixteenth century and the first printing outside Italy, beautifully produced and here preserved in a wonderful example of a strictly contemporary, ascetic vellum binding.
De homine is arranged in the classic way, describing the various parts of the body from head to toe, and with discussions of various diseases interspersed. Besides references to authorities such as Cornelius Celsus and Pliny, Marzio cumulatively also draws on the works of earlier, Greek, physicians.