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GREVIN, Jacques (1538-1570) & NICANDROS of Colophon (Νίκανδρος ò Κολοφώνιος, 2nd Century BC)

Deux livres des venins, ausquels il est amplement discouru des bestes venimeuses, theriaques, poisons & contrepoisons. Ensemble, les œuvres de Nicandre, medecin & poëte Grec, traduictes en vers François.
Anvers, de l'imprimerie de Christofle Plantin, 1568.

First edition of Grevin’s famous book on poisons and their antidotes. It was issued together with Grevin’s translation into French of Nicandros' (Nicander’s) Theriaca and Alexipharmaca, with a separate title-leaf dated 1567. The book, illustrated by fine zoological and botanical woodcuts, is a beautiful example of fine printing from the Plantin Press. Grevin’s French verse translation of the two poems by the Greek poet and physician Nicandros of Colophon (2nd Cent B.C.) are their first rendering into the vernacular. The Theriaka describes the nature of venomous animals and their bites, and the Alexipharmaka treats of poisons and their antidotes. They are classics within the toxicological literature and give a vivid picture of lead poisoning with its colic, paralysis, and ocular disturbances. Nicander was praised by Cicero, imitated by Ovid, and held in great esteem by Pliny. Grevin is probably better known as one of the outstanding poets and dramatists of France. He was a disciple of Ronsard, but originally educated as a physician in Paris. Grevin’s poems were praised by Ronsard until the friends were separated by religious differences and Grevin was forced to leave France. He travelled to England and visited Antwerp before settling in Turin in 1561, where he became the physician and counsellor to Margaret of Savoy, and died at her court in Turin in 1570. But he also wrote on medical and scientific subjects, and is noted for his translation of Vesalius’ Epitome into French.

Collation: Pp (8), 333, (7); Nicandros with separate title-leaf: pp 90, (2). With ca. 47 woodcuts of animals and plants in the first work (Grevin). Historiated woodcut initials. Titles with Plantin’s woodcut device.

Binding: Contemporary mottled calf, with five raised bands, red spine label.

References: Voet 1266; Johnston, The Cleveland Herbal, 96; Norman 943. Waller 3740.

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