Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The History of Medicine in Book Frontpieces

Physica hippocratea
Johann Horst 1682

[Click images for larger versions]

Nosodochium in quo cutis... affectus omnes...
et cognoscendi et curandi fidelissime traduntur
Samuel Hafenreffer 1660 (detail)

Rationale vulnerum lethalium judicium
Gottfried Welsch 1662

Oeuvres pharmaceutiques
Jean Renou 1626

Institutionum pharmaceuticarum libri quinque
Jean Renou 1608

Historiae medico-physicae centuriis tribus comprehensae
Ehrenfried Hagendorn 1690

Le barbier médecin ou les Fleurs d’Hippocrate dans
lequel la chirurgie a repris la queue du serpent
Jean Michault 1672

Microcosmus hypochondriacus sive de
melancholia hypochondriaca tractatus
Malachias Geiger 1652 (detail)

De anatome corporis humani libri VII
Guido Guidi 1691 (detail)

La guérison de la paralysie par l'électricité
L'Abbé Sans 1772
I found this image or at least the implied treatment most intriguing. It translates as 'Curing the paralysed with electricity'. It was written by an Abbott who worked as an experimental physicist at the University of Perpignan. As best as my limited brain can understand, sparks were somehow provoked between bulbs (I guess that's one of them top middle) and this form of apparatus is said to be found in medical history museums. I had never heard of this 'method of treatment' before.

100 Frontispieces de Livres de Médecine du 16e Siècle au Début de 19e Siècle is a fantastic exhibition (in french) of the opening images from treatises issued over 3 centuries, at the Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Médecine. It's a part-Flash site and all of the images are wonderfully large (although I couldn't get them to load from the index -- firefox on windows)

Even leaving aside the translation, I found the details in many of the images to be thorougly interesting -- it's possible to discern many weird and wonderful treatment modalities just by looking at the pictures. Everything from insane asylums to gardening to surgery and pharmacy.

[Some artifact has been erased - most particularly from library stamps! Oy.]

I've previously compiled a list of historical medical images online but I'm reasonably confident that I haven't seen the majority of images from the above exhibition.


(And thanks very much to Cliopatria. I'm a bit shocked. But happy. Cheers!)


dinesh said...


Anonymous said...

congrats pk (the mirrors are indeed working.)

Anonymous said...

magical! merci!

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