[colophon: Venedig: Misserino, 1609].
First edition, exceptionally rare, of Casserius’ second important contribution to the comparative anatomy not only of the ear and the vocal organs, as in his more common work of 1600/01 [De Vocis Auditusque Organis], but also of the other four sense organs and especially of the eye. The very fine anatomical plates for which this book is noted are both drawn and engraved by the Swiss artist Joseph Maurer, a pupil of Tobias Stimmer who lived in Casserius’ house. The 12 plates pertaining to the ear are the same as those of Casserius’ earlier work; they constitute “the first accurate pictorial presentation of the internal ear” (Lyle M. Sellers, Annals of Otology 68 (1959)). Those dealing with the other four sense organs are new. Among them, in the particularly important section dealing with the eye and vision (pp. 257-346) are the first pictorial representations of the conjunctival glands, later known as the Meibomian glands (cf. Garrison-Morton 1481). All the plates, according to Choulant-Frank, “are done with unusual care and are anatomically exact.” Casserius’ anatomy of the sense organs is of great importance in medical history, since for the first time he adds to a complete account of each human organ a full study of the same organ in various animal forms. Choulant-Frank never saw a copy of this first edition, describing only the Frankfurt edition of 1622, with the same number of plates but “reduced and certainly executed by another artist. Some of them are even reversed and show much inferior workmanship” (p. 224).
“[Casseri’s] second book, the Pentaestheseion, had great success among contemporaries as shown by the many reprints (Frankfurt, 1609, 1610, 1612, 1622; Venice, 1627) ... It is a 360-page volume dedicated to the Duke of Bavaria, Prince Maximilian. The introductory part consists of a letter to the reader in which Casserius reports that he was prompted to publication, despite a few malevolent critics, by the favorable reception of his first work. There is also a short laudatory poem by Caspar Bartholin, who had been Casserius’s friend and student. The book contains five treatises devoted to each sense organ: touch (with 2 tables), taste (6 tables), smell (7 tables), hearing (12 tables), sight (6 tables). The treatise on hearing is a reprint of the one published on the same subject in De Vocis Auditusque. Before the treatises, there is a long philosophical discussion on the nature and role of sense organs in which Casserius maintains that touch is the fundamental sense from which all the other derive, and that all sensations go to the brain.
“At variance with the prevailing opinion, Casserius was the first to state that the touch organ resides in the dermis and not in the epidermis. He describes the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot with their aponeuroses, muscles, and nerves, also providing the first illustrations of these regions. Casserius, unlike his contemporaries, does not consider the tongue as made up by a single muscle. He describes and illustrates the extrinsic muscles of the tongue and the suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscles, but he considers as a single nerve, at their exit from the skull, the vagus and the glossopharyngeal nerves. Furthermore, he mistakes for a nerve the main excretory duct of the submandibular gland, later discovered by Wharton in 1656. Concerning the sense of smell, he puts forward the strange idea that the olfactory mucosa is continuous with the brain dura mater through the foramina of the cribrous lamina. He describes fairly well the muscles of the nose and the paranasal sinuses and gives an accurate description of the skeleton of the nose, stating that there are three nasal conchae and that the lower one is a separate bone. According to Hyrtl, Casserius is the first to use the term nasal concha, still retained in the modern anatomical terminology.
“Sterzi credits Casserius with having provided the first correct description of the eye and of its accessory organs; he gives a detailed account of the orbit and of the six eye muscles, correcting a mistake by both Galen and Vesalius, who described as a normal human structure the coanoides, a muscle that is present only in animals. Again, Casserius states that the optic nerve is surrounded by a double sheath provided by the dura and by the pia mater, respectively. Concerning the origin of tears, he concludes that they are produced both by the brain and by the lacrimal gland. As in the previous work, the tables of the Pentaestheselon show a few morphologic details not reported in the text. In fact, Sterzi notes that, in some of the figures illustrating the eye lids, there are the tarsal glands whose discovery is ascribed to Meibom (1666)” (Riva et al).
“Julius Casserius (c. 1552-1616) was born in a poor family in Piacenza in 1552. As a young man, he moved to Padua and soon after, he became a servant to Fabricius, a noted anatomist and professor at the Universitá Artista, who quickly became his mentor. Casserius eventually attended the University of Padua and received a degree in medicine and philosophy. In the following years, a rivalry ensued between Casserius and his former mentor as they competed for teaching privileges, conflicted on dissection philosophies, and disregarded each other's contributions in publications. Tragically, the conflict between these two influential anatomists may have overshadowed their contributions to the study of anatomy. Casserius was one of the first physicians to develop a comprehensive treatise on anatomy. Unfortunately, while Casserius prepared several tracts identifying novel structures, he did not live to see his master collection published as he died suddenly at the peak of his career in 1616. Interestingly, the English anatomist and surgeon John Browne used copies of Casserius’ work for his own anatomy text and was labeled a plagiarist. It is the contributions from such pioneers as Casserius on which we base our current understanding of human anatomy” (Housman et al).
Krivatsy 2201; not in Cushing, Garrison-Morton, Norman or Osler; Waller 1810; Choulant-Frank 224 (1622 edition); Housman et al, ‘Giulio Cesare Casseri (c. 1552-1616): the servant who became an anatomist,’ Clinical Anatomy 27 (2014), 675-80; Riva et al, ‘Iulius Casserius (1552-1616): The self-made anatomist of Padua's golden age,’ The Anatomical Record 265 (2001), 168-175; Hyrtl, Onomatologia Anatomica, 1880; Sterzi, ‘Giulio Casseri, anatomico e chirurgo (ca. 1552-1616),’ Nuovo Arch Veneto, N.S. XVIII, P. II: 1–64.
Folio (394 x 265 mm), pp. [viii], 346, , engraved title with border enclosing medallion portrait of author, 33 full-page engraved illustrations, woodcut initials. Conetmporary full calf with six raised bands and richly gilt spine compartments, spine with very well done surface restoration, internally in genral clean and crisp with only occasional light foxing to some leaves. Very rare.