Medicina Statica: Being the Aphorisms of Sanctorius. Translated into English, with Large Explanations, to which is added, Dr. Keil’s Medicina Statica Brittanica, with comparative Remarks and Explanations. As also Medico-Physical Essays on I. Agues. II. Fevers. III. An Elastick Fibre. IV. The Gout. V. The Leprosy. VI. King’s Evil. VII. Venereal Disease. The Fourth Edition. By John Quincy.
London, J. Osborn and T. Longman, and J. Newton, 1728.
This English translation by John Quincy of Santorio’s Ars de statica medicina (1st ed. Venice 1614) was very popular and went through many editions between 1712 and 1842. The first English editions were those by Cole (1663, only one copy known) and Davies (1676). Quincy has included the aphorisms of James Keil (1673–1719), a physician in Northumberland, who had performed Santorio’s experiments in the colder climate of England with some different results. In 1611 Santorio was appointed professor of medicine in Padua. He was a friend of Galileo and converted some of Galileo’s brilliant ideas in the field of physics into practical measures valuable in clinical medicine. He invented a thermometer to measure the temperature of the body, and a pulsimeter to register the movement of the pulse, as well as several other instruments. His medical fame today is best associated with the fact that he founded the physiology of metabolism through his experiments and data on what he called 'insensible perspiration’ of the body. – His invention, which at the period was something new and unheard of, as he states, consisted in the use of the balance as the instrument of control. He placed his work-table and his bed and all that he needed for existence on a specially constructed balance and thus was able to investigate the alterations in his body weight produced by solid and liquid secretions in various normal and pathological conditions. His experiments, which he continued with admirable patience and pertinacity for more than thirty years, were described in a series of aphorisms in his Ars de statica de medicine. The success of the book was phenomenal; it was translated into all European languages and went through many editions. Santorio found that, after eating food which had been weighed and then weighing his excreta, the weight of his excreta was less than that of his food. Thus, the food he ingested was not all excreted in feces, urine or visible perspiration. He was exhaling part of the foodstuff or potential energy in some other manner; this method of exhalation he called insensible perspiration. His observations were the first controlled study of what we today call basal metabolism. The frontispiece which represents the famous Paduan seated in his steelyard chair, in the act of weighing himself for a metabolism experiment after a meal “is a familiar human document in the annals of medical illustrations” (Garrison).
Collation: Pp. viii, 863, (17). Engraved frontispiece and one folding plate.
Binding: Contemporary panelled calf, rebacked with the original endpapers preserved.
References: Garrison-Morton 573 (original edition, Venice, 1614); DSB, XII, 101-04; Garrison, History, 259-60; Castiglioni, Life and Work of Sanctorius (1931); Major 'Santorio Santorio’ in Annals of Medical History, N.S. X (1938), 369-81; Heirs of Hippocrates 399; Norman 1890 (orig. ed.). Waller 8477-8488 (various editions).