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FRIES, Lorenz (ca 1490-1531)

Spiegel der artzney, vor zeyten zu nutz und trost den Leyen gemacht, durch Laurentium Friesen, aber offt nun gefelschet, durch unfleiss der Buchtrucker, yetzund durch den selbigen Laurentium, widerum gebessert und in seinen ersten glantz gestelt. Hiemit sollen widerriefft, und falsch declarieret sein, alle exemplar diss buchs, so vor diesem truck aussgangen seind.
Strassburg, bey Balthassar Beck, 1532.

Fries’ Spiegel der Artzney, first published in Strassburg in 1518, is said to be the oldest work on internal medicine in the German language. It became very popular and went through many editions up till 1546, all published in Strassburg, the first two by Johann Grüninger and later by Balthasar Beck. In 1529 the famous herbalist Otto Brunfels issued a revised edition with Fries’ consent, which contained so many typographical errors that a new edition containing a warning for the previous one was published in 1532, edited and corrected by Brunfels. The present one is one of three variants of this corrected edition differing only in the wording and spelling of the title. The early editions were illustrated with remarkable woodcuts attributed to the celebrated Hans Wechtlin, including some of the best anatomical representations in print of the pre-Vesalian period. The present 1532 edition is not illustrated, except for the fine title-border ascribed to Hans Weiditz, who made the beautiful woodcuts of plants for Brunfels Herbarum. Lorenz Fries of Colmar, later town physician in Metz, wrote miscellaneous works on anatomy, medicine and astrology. His popular Spiegel der Artzney, has chapters describing in order, from top to toe, the most common diseases incl. tooth-ache, women’s diseases, food and drink, climate, poisons, colic, fever, uroscopy and the spleen. The popular text, written in the vernacular, was certainly a source of inspiration for others inlcuding Benedictus Olai, the author of the first Swedish medical book in 1578. The section on uroscopy was translated by Henrik Smid in Malmö as En liden Bog om Menniskens Vand (1557).

Collation: Ff (6), lxxii, lxxxiiii-lxxix, lxxxix-cxlii. Signatures: a-Z6 a4 b6. Title within a broad woodcut border incorporating the portraits of 24 named ancient and medieval medical authors; the lower part of the border with Adonis and Venus seated in a herb garden.

Binding: Brown calf over wooden boards with two brass clasps, richly tooled in blind to a panel design with four floral borders. The second border has the date 1598 and the initials ”V. T.”.

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