Observationes anatomicae.

Cologne: Arnold Birkmann, 1562.

First edition, second issue, of the greatest Italian anatomical book of the sixteenth century (first published in 1561, see below).


“Rather than a complete study of the whole of anatomy, Falloppio, who was a pupil of Vesalius, designed this work as a critical commentary of his teacher's De humani corporis fabrica, correcting some of its errors and adding additional observations and details. For this reason there was no need for illustrations. In fact it was a work of great originality, in which Falloppio reported very many new discoveries and observations. It was his only work published during his lifetime, and therefore the only one which can be said to be fully authentic.


“Falloppio discovered and first described the chorda tympani, semicircular canals and the ‘aqueduct of Falloppius’, correctly described the structure and course of the cerebral vessels, and knew the circular folds of the small intestines. He gave the first description of the ‘circle of Willis’, enumerated all the nerves of the eye, and introduced a number of anatomical names, including the vagina and placenta, and is best remembered for his account of the tubes named after him. He also gave excellent descriptions of the ovaries, hymen, clitoris, and round ligaments, and proved the existence of the seminal vesicles. He included an important account of the kidneys, which may antedate that of Eustachius. For a full account of Falloppio's discoveries, see the article by C.D. O'Malley in the DSB. Vesalius replied positively to Falloppio's book with his Anatomicarum Gabrielis Falloppii observationum examen, 1564, published posthumously by his friends.” (Nigel Phillips, Catalogue 23, 1999).


The first issue appeared at Venice in 1561, followed by a second in 1562 which was issued in Cologne (as offered here), Paris and Venice. The Venice issue was made up of the sheets from the first printing but with a new title-page and the errata corrected; the Cologne and Paris printings were reset.


Bound with the Falloppio is the third edition of Loys Vasse’s In anatomen corporis humani tabulae quatuor (Venice: Valgrisi, 1549), first published in 1540.


Norman 757; Lilly, Notable Medical Books 39; Heirs of Hippocrates 331; Garrison-Morton 378.2 (all the 1561 edition); Wellcome 2148.

8vo (160 x 99 mm), pp. [xvi] 341 [1]; [1] 2-200 [32]. Contemporary limp vellum with yapped edges, manuscript lettering to spine, completely unrestored, very light damp stain to some gathherings. In all a fine copy.

Item #4023

Price: $6,500.00

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