Florence: Laurentium Torrentinum, 1548. FIRST EDITION. Contemporary vellum; aside from some very minor foxing, an excellent copy with bookplate of the Princes of Liechtenstein, contemporary ownership inscription on title and contemporary annotation on verso of final blank. First edition of Martius' scholarly and philosophical miscellany, which includes a radical approach to sexuality. In addition to chapters covering poisons, pharmacology, astrology and how the humors of the human body are related to the planets as well as general medicine, Martius includes discussions on everything from the moon's effect on tides to explanations of why the zodiac has animal names. He answers such questions as "why joy and fear kill suddenly" or "why the blood of the corpse flows in the murderer's presence." He also writes extensively on the positive medical benefits of coitus (with a comment that "the perfect marriage is between a blind woman and a deaf man"), and references Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and Plato, as well as repudiating certain errors of Pliny and Galen.Martius' philosophy can be gleaned by his analogies related to tarot cards: "the inventor must have been a man of shrewd wit when one considers the significance of swords, spears, cups and country loaves. Strength, as indicated by swords and spears, suggests that many are better than just a few. In matters of meat and drink, however, as indicated by the loaves and cups, a little is better than a great or excessive amount. Cups are goblets for wine and abstemious persons are more lively in wit and better in management of business than gluttons and drunkards. Country loaves, based upon their thin form and yellow color, are intended to signify pieces of money."Martius (1427-1497?) was a physician and humanist whose talents extended to philosophy, astrology, medicine, poetry, and rhetoric. He was educated in Padua and Bologna before moving to Hungary where he enjoyed the royal patronage of King Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490). His relationship to the Bohemian Hussites likely contributed to an accusation of heresy in 1477 regarding his publication De incognitis vulgo, of which he was eventually cleared by Pope Sixtus IV. The manner and date of his death have been debated - everything from a fall from a horse to suffocating from his extreme fatness. (Inventory #: 16033)
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