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ALBERTI, Salomon (1540-1600)

Historia plerarunque partium humani corporis, membratim scripta, et in usum tyronum retractatius edita.
Vitæbergæ, excudebant Hæredes Iohannis Cratonis, 1585.

Second edition. The first edition appeared in Wittenberg, Zacharias Lehman, 1583. Alberti’s textbook of anatomy was a much-used and highly regarded one which went through several editions up to 1630. The book is illustrated with a remarkable set of anatomical woodcuts, the majority influenced by Vesalius (Feyfer, p. 475). The striking woodcut on title is the same seen on the title of Johann Winter’s of Andernach, Institutiones Anatomicae (1585) showing a human skull, but in Alberti’s book an hour glass has been placed on its head and a snake in its mouth, the snake with a crucifix on its head. Salomon Alberti was a renowned anatomist,. He studied medicine in Wittenberg (M.D. 1574) where he taught at the Medical faculty. He was dean of the Philosophical faculty, thrice dean of the medical faculty, and also thrice rector of the university. In 1592 he went to Dresden and became physician to the elector, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Saxony. Alberti is best remembered as the first to provide illustrations of the venous valves (Tres orationes, Nuremberg 1585), a knowledge essentail to the formation of Harvey’s concept of the circulation of the blood, fifty years later. He also described the lacrimal apparatus (De lacrimis, Wittenberg 1581) and discussed such questions as why boys should not be forbidden to cry, why sobbing generally goes with tears, and whether metals and minerals burned on coals alleviates asthma by their vapor or odor. He also discussed the problem with deafness and muteness in Oratio de surditate et mutitate, Nuremberg 1591. His Schorbuti historia (Wittenberg 1594) in which he recommends citrus fruit as part of a preventive diet was referred to by James Lind in his celebrated treatise of 1753.

Collation: Pp. (16), 121, (2) colophon. With woodcut on title and 29 woodcuts in the text (four full-page) and 3 folding woodcut plates included in the pagination as 37, 52, and 97.

Binding: Late vellum binding (Hedberg), red and brown spine label.

Provenance: With a long note of nine lines on verso of title concerning the rarity of the book, which the former owner had purchased from Tullberg’s Antikvariat in Lund: "Denna af Med. Dr. och Professor Salomon Albertus författade och hos Johannes Cratonis i Wittenberg 1585 tryckta arbete, betingar nu för sin stora sällsynthet o ålder (308 år) ett ganska högt värde. Boken är inköpt från Tullbergs antikvariat, Lund, 1893 af (undeciphered signature)".

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