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Francisco Hernandez
HERNÀNDEZ, Francisco.

HERNÀNDEZ, Francisco.
(c1514 - 1578)

(Born: Near Toledo, Spain, c1514; Died: Madrid, Spain, 1578) Spanish physician & naturalist.

Hernandez studied medicine at the University of Alcalá. He was a friend of Vesalius and followed his lead in dissecting. One of the early defenders of the lesser circulation. In Mexico City he experimented on the medicinal properties of the local drugs. He did his best to establish a Mexican pharmacology based on local plants. His translation of Pliny contains extensive geographical commentaries. During his final year in Mexico, he was in charge of the battle against the terrible epidemic, cocoliztle, that wiped out half of Mexico. He left an important clinical study of the disease. Apparently began his career as physican to the Duke of Maqueda (near Toledo) for a brief time, then practiced several years in Seville. He occupied the most important medical position in Spain at that time, physician of the hospitals of the Monastery of Guadalupe. He was probably there in the late 60's. This position was virtually the antechamber to the royal chamber. He directed the botanical garden, and botanized in the area. Here also his anatomical studies. When he returned to Toledo apparently about 1567, he was in contact with the court; by about 1568 he became physician to the Chamber of the King. By order of Philip II, went to Mexico to study the flora and fauna, with particular attention to medicinal properties, 1570-77. While in Mexico he was protomedico for the colony. The two pinnacles of Spanish medicine were the royal chamber and the office of protomedico, both of which he held (the latter for Mexico). Both positions salaried. The expedition to Mexico carried a salary of 2,000 ducats. He dedicated the translation (with commentary) of Pliny to Philip II; this work was not published during his life. When Hernández returned to Spain, his friends at court were no longer in such influence, and Hernández was rewarded for his herculean endeavors largely by indifference. His great natural history was not published as, of course, he had hoped. He left behind a revealing memorial to the court and a Latin poem to his friend Arias Montano. During his final years he was appointed physician to the young prince who became Philip III. Hernández learned the indian language and translated some of his materials into it because he was convinced the pharmacological information would be useful to them.

Biographical references: ABE: I 438, 97-163; 1073, 237-320; II 444, 276-418; III 299, 318-333. Alvarez Lopez, E., "El Dr. Francisco Hernández y sus comentarios a Plinio", Revista de Indias, 3, (1942), 251-90. Barreiro, A.J., "El testmento del doctor Hernández", Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia, 94, (1929), 475-97. Diccionario Porrúa. DSB. López Piñero, Diccionario Histórico, 1983. López Piñero, J.M., Ciencia y tecnica en la sociedad espanola de los siglos XVI y XVII. Barcelona, Labor, 1979. [1]-511 p. López Piñero, J.M., El codice Pomar (ca. 1590), el interés de Felipe II por la historia natural y la expedición Hernández. Valencia, 1991. Picatoste, Biblioteca Científica Española, 1891. WBI.

Qvatro Libros, 1615

1. Spanish, 1615 [First edition].
[Contained within an ornamental border of printed flowers:] [Leaf] * Qvatro Libros. * [Leaf] | De La Natv- | raleza, Y Virtvdes De Las | plantes, y animales que estan receuidos en el vso | de Medicina en la Nueua España, y la Methodo, y orrec- | cion, y preparacion, que para administrallas se requiere | con lo que el Doctor Francisco Hernandez escriuio | [tilde] - en lengua Latina. [tilde] | Mvy Vtil Para Todo Genero De | gente {q} viue en estãcias y Pueblos, do no ay Medicos, ni Botica. | ¶ Traduzido, y aumentados muchos simples, y Compuestos | y otros muchos secretos curatiuos, por Fr. Francisco Xi- | menez hijo del Conuento de S. Domingo de Mexico, | Natural de la Villa de Luna del Reyno de Aragon. | ¶ A N{\ r}o R.P. Maestro Fr. Hernando Bazan, Prior Prouincial de | la Prouincia de Sãctiago de Mexico, de la Orden de los Predicadores, | y Cathedratico Iubilado de Theologia en la Vniuersidad Real. | [ornament] | ¶ En Mexico, en casa de la Viuda de Diego Lopez Daualos. 1615. | ¶ Vendese en la tienda de Diego Garrido, en la esquina de | la calle de Tacuba, y en la Porteria de S. Domingo.

4°: ¶¶4 A-Z4 Aa-Zz4 Aaa-Ddd4 Eee2 (A3 missigned A2); 206l.; [5], 194 (wrongly numbered 1-4, 4-6, [8]-23, 23-35, 32, 37-146, 149, 148, 149-150, 161-203), [7]l

Very scarce. REWORK THIS COMMENTARY Very rare. This is the first book on plants and minerals published in the New World. The translator was Francisco Ximénez [1666-c1722]. The Quatro Libros was the first milestone after the publication of the Index medica-mentorum by Barrios was a much more substantial text, based on a manuscript of Recchi's selection. The manuscript itself, unknown today, had been "signed" by Francisco Valles. We now know that it belonged, at least as late as 1609, to Barrios. In 1615 fray Francisco Ximenez saw through the press Quatro Libros. De la naturaleza, y virtudes de las plantas, y animales. The text of the Quatro Libros is organized into four books, each subdivided into sections. The first three books are on aromatics, trees, plants, and fruits; herbs with a sharp taste; herbs that taste salty or sweet; and herbs that have a bitter taste or no taste at all; the fourth hook deals with animals and minerals whose derivatives can be used as medicines. Two tables list illnesses and remedies (not based on the Index medicarnentorum). Altogether the book contains 478 chapters translated into Spanish from Hernandez's work, with some annotations and additions supplied by Ximenez. The stated purpose of this book was to be a handbook for use in places where there was no accessible pharmacy. Until the appearance of the Complutense manuscript, it was not always clear where Hernandez ended and Ximenez began, because although the editor was deferential to the author, he would occasionally add a note from his own experience without distinguishing it as such. Apart from a frontispiece portrayal of Saint Dominic, the book has no illustrations, so that identification of plants with confus-ingly similar names is sometimes impossible. A lay hos-pital brother who arrived in New Spain in 1605, Ximenez worked at some time in the Hospital de la Santa Cruz, where he was in charge of the hospital's pharmacy. He apparently had received no formal medical training, but he did write a book, Memoria para la salud, now lost. His only tangible contribution to the history of medicine is thus his edition of Hernandez. The Huntington Library copy of the Quatro Libros, which Henry Harrisse bought in Paris in 1871, is not only in exceptionally good condition for a handbook that was meant to be used frequently: it is also annotated. The ink has faded, but the barely legible annotations reveal that someone wrote in the margins, in Spanish, key words, mostly indicating parts of the body that are mentioned in the text. Clearly, the annotations were meant to serve as a quick finding aid for practical purposes, and so they confirm exactly what the book was intended to do. We do not know the extent of the print run of the Quatro Libros, but it was probably small-perhaps a few hundred copies-as most Mexican imprints of its time seem to have been. Copies of the Quatro Libros have always been rare, especially in Europe, where, as we shall see, only one or two copies turned up in the seventeenth century. They were promptly put to good use.

Bibliographical references: Hunt Botanical Catalog: no. 200.

Rerum Medicarum Novæ Hispaniæ, 1651

2. Latin, 1651.
[Contained within an elaborate engraved compartment:] Rervm Medicarvm | Novæ Hispaniæ | Thesavrvs | Sev | Plantarvm Animalivm | Mineralivm Mexicanorvm | Historia | Ex Fancisci Hernandez | Noui Orbis Medici Primarij relationibus | in ipsa Mexicana Vrbe conscriptis | A Nardo Antonio Reccho | Monte Coruinate Cath. Maiest. Medico | Et Neap. Regni Archiatro Generali | Iussu. Philippi II. | Hisp. Ind. etc. Regis | Collecta ac in ordinem digesta | À Ioanne Terrentio Lynceo | Constantiense Germ.o Phõ ac Medico | Notis Illustrata | Nunc primũ in Naturaliũ re[old aux] Studioso[old aux] gratiã | lucubrationibus Lynceorũ publici iuris facta. | Quibus Jam excussis accessere demum alia | quo[old aux] omnium Synopsis sequenti pagina ponitur | Opus duobus voluminibus diuisum | Philippo IIII. Regi Catholico Magno | Hispania[old aux] vtriusqz Siciliæ et Indiarũ etc. Monarchæ | dicatum. | [At the bottom:] Romæ Superio[old aux] permissu. Ex Typographeio Vitalis Mascardi. M. DC. XXXXXI.

2°: [Maltese Cross]4 a2 b4 c4 D4 A-Z6 Aa-Pp6 χ1 Qq-Zz6 Aaa-Zzz6 Aaaa-Kkkk6 Llll2 A-M4; 548l.; [32], 1-456, [2], 457-950 (i.e., 952), [2]; 1-90, [6] p., engraved title page, letter-press title printed in red and black, c800 woodcut text illus., table. Page 110 is wrongly numbered 011, 500 is 400, 698 is 968. Page size: 320 x 218 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs/=[Maltese Cross]1rv], Engraved title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs/=[Maltese Cross]2rv], Dedication to Philip IV dated October 1650.; [2 pgs/=[Maltese Cross]3rv], "Iacobvs Mascardvs | Typographvs | Lectoris." (concerns the authors of the various parts of the book).; [1 pg/=[Maltese Cross]4r], "Imprimatur..."-dated 1651.; [1 pg/=[Maltese Cross]4v], "Totius Histoire, ..." (=table of contents).; [4 pgs/=a1r-a2v], "Index | Medica Mentorvm | Novæ Hispaniæ"; [14 pgs/=b1r-c3v], "Index | Plantarvm | Animalvm, Et Mineralivm, ..."; [4 pgs/=c4r-D1v], "Index | Avthrorvm Virorvmq."; [1 pg/=D2r], "Vocum quarundam Americanrum explicatio."; [1 pg/=D2v], "Errata Sic Corrigenda."; 1-456 (i.e., 952)/=A1r-Pp6v, Text.; [2 pgs/=χ1], "Aliorvm | Novæ Hispaniæ | Animalivm | ...." verso dedication to Cardinal Barberinvm.; 457-950/=Qq1r-Kkkk6v, Llll2r-Llll2v, Text continued.; [1 pg/=Llll2r], "Amico Lectori."; [1 pg/Llll2v], "Index Tabvlarvm."; 1-90/=A1r-M1v, "Historia Animalium | Liber Unicus."; [5 pgs/=M2r-M4r], "Indices | Alphabetici."; [1 pg/=M4v], "Errata Sic Corrige."

Very scarce. REWORK THIS ENTRY. Book 10 (pp. 335-344) of this work concerns minerals. It provides a glossary and description with Aztec name and a Latin equivalent. There are no illustrations. The earliest published version of Hernandez's great natural history of Mexico appeared in Spanish translation, unillustrated, at Mexico City in 1615. The Latin edition, with considerable additions to the text as well as numerous illustrations, was prepared in Rome by the Accademia dei Lincei and was first printed in 1628, but only a few copies had been distributed when its patron, Prince Federico Cesi, died, leaving the project without funds. Due to the efforts of Francesco Stelluti of the Accademia dei Lincei, who succeeded in obtaining the patronage of the Spanish ambassador in Rome, Don Alfonso Turiano, publication was revived and the original sheets were reissued in 1648, 1649 and 1651. The present copy is the last of these issues in terms of the title-pages; however it retains the three original dedications to Cardinal Barberini, which were cancelled in some copies, and has in addition the dedication to Roderico de Mendoza which was substituted for the third of them. There are numerous 'complexities of the bibliography and the printing of the Lyncei edition, for such it remains ... The compiler has not seen nor heard of any two copies which are exactly alike in arrangement or in the presence or absence of the name Barberini in the dedications' (Arents).

Hernandez, physician to Philip II of Spain, was sent in 1570 to study the flora and fauna of Mexico, where he worked until 1577. His researches remained unpublished at his death in 1587 and his successor as royal physician, Leonardo Recchi, was entrusted with the task of examining anew the mass of materials left by Hernandez and of preparing a suitable abridgement for the press. Recchi in turn died before he was able to publish his work, but it is his rendering of Hernandez that was used for the 1615 Spanish translation and which forms the basis of the Rome edition: 'with its brilliant appended treatises, it was here at last that Hernandez's work received the recognition that it deserved. Though only a small part of all that he had written, it is a monument of industry and erudition, the more remarkable as being the first on the subject, and even today it still holds its place as a book of the highest authority. Hernandez was henceforward referred to as "the third Pliny"' (Hunt).

Facsimile reprint, 1992: Rerum Medicarum Novæ Hispaniæ Thesaurus. Romae Ex Typographeio Vitalis Mascardi, 1599. Ristampa anastatica, Roma, 1992.

Abstracted English transl., c2000: The Mexican Treasury. the Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernandez. By Simon Varey, editor. Stanford, Stanford Unversity Press, c2000. 4°: xix, 281 p., frontispiece (map), 64 illustrations. ISBN 0804739633.

This volume consists of a selection of English translations from the extensive writings of Dr. Francisco Hernandez [1515-1587]. Celebrated in his own day as one of Spain's leading physicians and naturalists, he is now best remembered for his monumental work on the native plants and materia medica of central Mexico. Sent to New Spain in 1570 by King Philip II to research and describe the natural history of the region, to assess the medical usefulness of the natural resources, and to gather ethnographic materials for an anthropological history, Hernandez was the first trained scientist to undertake scientific work in the New World. For seven years he gathered information throughout the Valley of Mexico, learning Nahuatl, recording local medical customs, studying indigenous medicines, and writing down all his observations. The result was The Natural History of New Spain, written in Latin, which consisted of six folio volumes filled with descriptions of over 3,000 plants previously unknown in Europe (along with descriptions of a much smaller number of animals and minerals) and ten folio volumes of paintings by Mexican artists illustrating the plants and animals he described.

Bibliographical references: Arents: 347 (Add). Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 243. Hunt Botanical Catalog: no. 247. LKG: XIV 892. Nissen (BBI): no. 861. Nissen (ZBI): no. 1908a. NLM 17th Century Books (Krivatsy): no. 5333. Palau, Manual, 1948-77: no. 113538. Picatoste, Biblioteca Científica Española, 1891: no. 372. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturæ Botanicæ, 1871-3: no. 4000. Sabin, Dictionary, 1868-1936: no. 31516.

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