Mattioli. Botanical woodcut 1554 of Styrax.

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First Latin edition,1554

A leaf from Mattioli’s edition of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides with a woodcut of Styrax.

Pietro Andrea Mattioli (b. Siena, Italy, 1501; d. Trento, Italy, 1577), was the most successful botanical writer in 16th century Europe.  His chief claim to fame was his edition of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides  Many other writers had sought to edit the Materia Medica but none had been as successful as this Sienese physician.

His emphasis on the importance of Italy’s contribution to botany ensured that when Italian universities, such as Pisa and Ferrara, set up lectureships and botanical gardens and were looking for a suitable textbook, it was to Mattioli’s edition of Dioscorides that they turned. Mattioli’s Latin text became the set textbook for the new courses on botany at Italian universities.

Mattioli’s vibrant illustrations ensured that his text did not go out of fashion and it was still being reprinted in the eighteenth century.

Recto: Text in Greek and Latin printed in greek, roman regular and italic fonts on watermarked, laid rag paper. Heading, marginal notes and paginationA woodcut of Styrax.

Verso:  As Recto, text only.

Printer:  Vincenzo Valgrisi, Venice, 1554

Title:  Commentarii in libros sex Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei, de medica materia.

Condition: This leaf is in very good/excellent condition with just slight marks and soiling in the margins.   Full margins, a clear watermark and a sharply printed woodcut. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Notes:  Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40–90 AD) was a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of De materia medica (On Medical Material), a 5-volume encyclopaedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.

Styrax (common names storax or snowbell) has been grown for centuries for the resin obtained from the tree, called benzoin or storax. The resin is used in perfumes, certain types of incense, and medicines.

Size: Leaf: approx. 310x210mm.

References: EDIT 16, CNCE 37627; Adams D 655; Nissen, BBI 1305; Hunt 94 Anm.; Durling 3008.

Item No: PSE106

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