Titre : De Re Anatomica libri XV.
Éditeur : Venetiis [Venice:] Ex Typographia Nicolai Beuilacquae, 1559.
Date d'édition : 1559
Small folio, pp. (viii), 169 [a misprint for 269], (3). Woodcut title-page, woodcut initials, printer?s woodcut device on last page. Seventeenth century vellum (short tear to upper cover, slight wear to foot of spine). Minor pale dampstain in fore-edge margin of 5 leaves, pale dampstain in gutter of last 30 leaves and paper slightly browned, otherwise a fine and clean copy. Early inscription of M. de Campa and shelfmarks at foot of title-page and old library stamp on verso. First edition, issue with the dedication to Pope Pius IV, of Colombo?s only work, containing his discovery of pulmonary circulation. ?This historic breakthrough in his demonstration of the lesser circulation through the lungs secures his place of importance in the line culminating in Harvey?s demonstration of the circulation of the blood sixty-nine years later ? (Heirs of Hippocrates 304). Colombo?s work is a treatise on general anatomy, but he ?is best known for his discovery of the pulmonary or lesser circulation, i.e. the passage of the blood from the right cardiac ventricle to the left via the lungs. Although this discovery was first published in the Historia de la composicion del cuerpo humano (1556) by Colombo?s friend and former pupil Valverde de Hamusco, the evidence in both Valverde?s and Colombo?s accounts indicates the the discovery was Colombo?s, made through his vivisectional observations of the heart and pulmonary vessels. Colombo?s account of the pulmonary circuit was preceded by that in Michael Servetus?s Christianismi restitutio, and by the thirteenth century account of the Arab ibn al-Nafis. However, these prior descriptions went undiscovered until the late seventeenth and early twentieth centuries, respectively; and there is no evidence that either was available to Colombo at the time. Colombo?s observations of the heart also enabled him to gain a more correct understanding of the phases of the heartbeat, generally confused by his predecessors, who erroneously likened the heart?s action to the expansive action of a bellows. Although overshadowed by his discovery of the pulmonary circulation, Colombo?s observations of the heartbeat apparently directly inspired Harvey?s vivisectional studies on the heart, which in turn led to his discovery of the greater circulation? (Norman catalogue). The fifteen Books are on the bones, ligaments, muscles, liver, heart, brain and nerves, the foetus, etc. Book 14 is on vivisection. According to tradition, the book was to have been illustrated by Michelangelo, but the finished book was unillustrated except for the fine woodcut title, which was clearly inspired by the Fabrica of Vesalius, Colombo?s teacher. Both Colombo and his original dedicatee, Pope Paul IV, died while the book was in production, and the dedication was therefore changed during the printing. G&M 378.1. Parkinson, Breakthroughs, 1559. Norman catalogue 501 (with the same dedication). N° de réf. du libraire 2655
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