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Andrea Cesalpino

(1519 - 1603)

(Born: Tuscany, Italy, 6 June 1519; Died: Rome, Italy, 23 February 1603) Italian physician.

Cesalpino was physician to Pope Clement VIII. He made original contributions to the fields of physiology, botany, geology and chemistry, and his theory on the circulation of the blood anticipated William Harvey's [1578-1657] in important ways. Cesalpino's De Plantis (Florentiĉ, 1583) laid out principles of arrangement and classification of botany that were developed through Joachim Jung and John Ray into the system designed by Linneaus.

Biographical references: ABI: I 286, 145-183; II S 21, 52. Arcieri, J., The circulation of the blood and Anderea Cesalpino of Arezzo. New York, 1945. Frontispiece (portrait). Capparoni, Profili Bio-Bibliografici, 1928-32: 1, 24-27, portrait. Casati, Dizionario degli Scrittori d'Italia, 1925-34. Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists: 270 [4 portraits listed]. Dizionario Biografico Italiani: 18, 122-5 [by A. De Ferrari]. DSB: 15, 80-1 [by K. Mägdefrau]. Enciclopedia Biografica Cattolicesimo. Esposito-Vitolo, A., "Michele Mercati (1541-1593)", Boll. Acc. Euteleti, 26, (1950), 20-38: 3, 417. Fuchs, C., Andreas Caesalpinus. De cujus viri ingenio, doctrina, et virtute pauca delibat. 1798. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon, 1884-8: 1, 866-8. ISIS, 1913-65: 1, 239. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51. Lais, G., "Documenti inediti di Andrea Cesalpino", Atti Pontif. Acc. Nuovi Lincei, 35, (1882), 95-102. Mayerhöfer, Lexikon der Naturwissenschaften, 1958-75: 1, 589-90. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer): 9, cols. 436-40. NY Academy Portrait Catalog: 1 [9 portraits listed]. Poggendorff: 1, col. 358. Stafleu & Cowan, Taxonomic Literature, 1976-88: 1, 478. Thomas, Dictionary of Biography, 1884: 557. Viviani, U., Vita ed opere di Andrea Cesalpino. Arezzo, 1922. [2], xi, 237 p. WBI. Wellcome Catalog (History): 14, 417-9 [25 refs.]. World Who's Who in Science: 315.

De Metallicis Libri Tres, 1596

1. Latin, 1596 [First edition].
De Metallicis | Libri Tres. | Andrea Cĉsalpino | Avctore. | Ad Sanctissimvm | Dominvm Nostrvm | Clementem VIII. | Pont. Max. | [ornament] | Romĉ; | Ex Typographia Aloysij Zannetti. M. D. XCVI. | Svperiorvm Permissv.

4°: a-b4 A-Z4 2A-2E4; 120l.; [16], 1-222, [2] p., engraved arms of Pope Clement VIII on title page. Mispaginations: 445 for 145, 447 for 147, 181 for 177, 184 for 180, 177 for 181 & 180 for 184. Page size: 215 x 151 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [3 pgs], Dedication.; [1 pg], "Perlegi hoc opus de Metallis ..."; [9 pgs], Index.; [1 pg], Blank.; 1-222, Text.; [1 pg], Colophon: "... Romae, | Ex Typographia Aloysij Zannetti. MD. XCVI. | Svperiorvm Permissv."; [1 pg], Blank.

Rare. Cesalpino's last work, dedicated to his major patron, Pope Clement VII. It is a famous compendium on metals and minerals by a remarkable Renaissance scientist celebrated for achievements in several branches of science. It was written as a companion to the author's famous botanical work, De Plantis (Florentiĉ, 1583), and was intended to extend his visionary theory of botanical classification to the mineral kingdom. In addition, at the end of the 16th century, Michele Mercati had begun to classify and catalog the metallic specimens held in the Vatican's mineralogical collection, but died before the manuscript was published. Cesalpino had been Mercati's teacher, and after the later's premature death, succeeded him as papal physician in Rome where he researched the De Metallicis. Cesalpino intended his treatise to supplement Mercati's work by not only describing metals but also focusing on the papal collection of gems and marbles.

Cesalpino divides his work into 3 major sections. Book I deals with the genesis of minerals and sketches a theory of classification according to their admixtures of the four elements. Book II treats limestone, marble, precious stones, crystals and salts, and the processes by which crystallization gives minerals their regular form, while Book III is devoted to metals and mining. Throughout the author provides commentary from ancient and contemporary sources, together with his own insightful observations.

De Metallicis is an important book for giving an early recognition to the true organic nature of fossils, the phenomenon of crystallization, speculating on the existence of oxygen and observing that gases have weight. In addition, along with Georg Agricola's De Re Metallica (1st ed., Basel, 1556), this work provided scholarly background for William Gilbert's De Magnete (1st ed., London, 1600). A whole chapter is devoted to the magnet, and there is material on the increase of weight on the calcination of lead, which foreshadowed the famous experiments on oxidation in the 18th century.

De Metallicis is also of interest, however, as a compendium of fantastic lore culled from ancient and contemporary sources: "Not only do we hear of a lynx stone near Naples that bears mushrooms, which Cesalpino regards as a great marvel but which may be a fact, but we have the gem jasper suspended as an amulet or are regaled with the virtues of bezaar or bezoar stones. One from Persia that grows in goats is tested in this wise. They smear a thread with poison such as the juice of a white hellebore and draw it with a needle through the foot of a dog or other part of an animal, leaving the thread in the wound. When symptoms of poisoning aggravate, they bring the stone near, and if it is genuine, the animal feels relief from that remedy ... " (Thorndike).

Bibliographical references: Adams, Cambridge Books, 1967: C-19. BL. Brunet: 1, 1451. CBN: 25, col. 870. Dana's 7th (Bibliography): 69. DSB: 15, 80-1. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 123. Geikie, Founders of Geology, 1905: p. 53. Hoefer, Histoiré de la Chimie, 1866-9: 2, 51-5. Hoover Collection: no. 212. Mottelay, History of Electricity & Magnetism, 1922: 502. Nordenskiöld, History of Biology, 1935. Norman Catalog: no. 433. NUC: 101, 606-7 [NC 0266081]. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 89-92. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 1, 218. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 1218 [not seen]. Thorndike, History of Magic, 1923-58: 6, 334-5. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 1183.

2. Latin, 1602 [2nd edition].
De Metal- | licis Libri | Tres. | Andrea Caesal- | pino Aretino. | Medico & Philosopho | auctore. | [Printer's device showing farmers working a field contained within a circular frame with the wording "Spes Alit Agricolas."] | Noribergĉ, | Recusi, curante Conrado Agricola. | [rule] | M D CII.

4°: a-b4 A-Z4 2A-2E4; 120l.; [16], 1-222, [2] p. Ornamental head- and tailpieces. Colophon (2E4r): "Noribergĉ, | Ex Officina Katharinĉ, Viduĉ Alexan- | dri Theodorici. | [rule] | M D CII." Page size: 200 x 150 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [3 pgs], "Ph. Scherbivs, Er- | nesto Sonero Medi- | co & Philosophi S.D."; [10 pgs], "Index."; [1 pg], Blank.; 1-222, Text.; [1 pg], "Corrigenda."-colophon at bottom.; [1 pg], Blank.

Very scarce. Edited by Philip Scherb [1555-1605], the text has been reset with what appear to be minor revisions.

Bibliographical references: Beekman, Systematische Mineralogie, 1906: 12, 15 & 25. BL. CBN: 25, col. 870. Cobres, Deliciĉ Cobresianĉ, 1782: 2, 680. Duveen, Bibliotheca Alchemica et Chemica, 1965: p. 112. Geikie, Founders of Geology, 1905: p. 53. Hoover Collection: no. 213. LKG: III 34. NUC: 101, 606-7 [NC 02660880]. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 89-92. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 1219. VD17: 12:133252R. Wallerius, Brevis Introductio, 1779: 27. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 1184.

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