Antropologium de hominis dignitate, natura et proprietatibus, de elementis, partibus et membris humani corporis.

Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel, 1501.

An outstanding copy, in untouched contemporary binding from the collection of Jean Blondelet, of one of the earliest works with anatomical illustrations, “includes the first illustrations of the viscera in a printed book” (GM). “Hundt’s best-known work, Antropologia de hominis dignitate, natura et proprietatibus de elementis, published in 1501, is one of the three or four earliest printed books to include anatomic illustrations. At one time, Hundt’s work was looked upon as the oldest printed book with original anatomic illustrations, but that is no longer believed to be the case. His Antorpologia included five full-page woodcuts, including two identical reproductions of the human head, which appeared on the back of the title page as well as later in the book. The woodcuts are crude and schematic and not done from nature, and although one of the woodcuts pictures the entire body and lists the various external parts, there is no attempt to equate the anatomical term with the actual representation. There is also a full-page woodcut of a hand with chiromantic markings, and of the internal organs of the throat and abdomen. Smaller woodcuts, including plates of the stomach, intestines, and cranium, are inserted throughout the text. The work gives a clear idea of anatomy prior to the work of Berengario da Carpi, and can be regarded as typifying late-fifteenth-century concepts. Hundt held that the stars exert more influence on the human body than on other composites of elements, and his book includes generalizations about human physiognomy and chiromancy as well as anatomy. He subscribed to the notion of the seven-celled uterus, which he apparently derived from Galen” (DSB). This is a very rare book on the market: APPC/RBH lists just the Norman copy, Christie’s 1998 $85,000 modern binding; Swann Galleries 1979 $8,600 modern binding; Sotheby’s 1974 $6,000 disbound.

Provenance: Rear paste-down with the marking of Blondelet, and with his preferred custom morocco box by Duval. Numerous contemporary annotations throughout. “Jean Blondelet was probably the greatest, but least known, French collector of rare medical and scientific books in the 20th century” (Jeremy Norman).

“Hundt’s best-known work, Antropologia de hominis dignitate, natura et proprietatibus de elementis, published in 1501, is one of the three or four earliest printed books to include anatomic illustrations. At one time, Hundt’s work was looked upon as the oldest printed book with original anatomic illustrations, but that is no longer believed to be the case. His Antropologia included five full-page woodcuts, including two identical reproductions of the human head, which appeared on the back of the title page as well as later in the book. The woodcuts are crude and schematic and not done from nature, and although one of the woodcuts pictures the entire body and lists the various external parts, there is no attempt to equate the anatomical term with the actual representation. There is also a full-page woodcut of a hand with chiromantic markings, and of the internal organs of the throat and abdomen. Smaller woodcuts, including plates of the stomach, intestines, and cranium, are inserted throughout the text. The work gives a clear idea of anatomy prior to the work of Berengario da Carpi, and can be regarded as typifying late-fifteenth-century concepts. Hundt held that the stars exert more influence on the human body than on other composites of elements, and his book includes generalizations about human physiognomy and chiromancy as well as anatomy. He subscribed to the notion of the seven-celled uterus, which he apparently derived from Galen” (DSB).

“The Antropologium … contains four large and several small woodcuts, which are accepted among the earliest of anatomical illustrations that are a little more than schematic representation. His work contains illustrations of the internal organs but without images of bones or muscles and this work seems to be the most comprehensive representation of all the internal parts up to that time. One of those illustrations shows that trachea on the right side of the neck, passing downward to the lungs; on the left side the oesophagus is represented. In the thorax are seen the lungs and the heart. The pericardium has been opened and the stomach and intestines are figured crudely. In addition, a figure of the uterus depicting the anatomy of the uterus with seven cells (Figura matricis) is noted. These illustrations also give a clear idea of pre-Berengarian anatomy and seem to be the aggregate of the views entertained in the fifteenth century as to the position and shape of the anatomic parts” (Gurunluoglu et al, ‘The history and illustration of anatomy in the Middle Ages,’ Journal of Medical Biography 21 (2013), 219-229).

The representation of the head was reproduced in several later works. “It is believed that Hundt’s scheme had its origin in the 1493 edition of Albertus Magnus’ Philosophia naturalis. A similar representation can be found in the Margarita philosophica (1503) written by Gregor Reisch (ca. 1470-1523) … The figure was subsequently reproduced in a number of medical texts published in the sixteenth century, such as Giovanni Battista Porta’s (ca. 1535-1615) De humani Physiognomia, published in Padua in 1593 … In the later sixteenth century, a notable figure is Otto Casmann (d. 1607), also known as Otto Casmannus, a physician-theologian from Stade, near Hamburg in Lower Saxony, who published a number of texts such as Psycholgia anthropologica (1594) and Somatologia (1598), which appear to be elaborations of the “anthropology” of Hundt” (History of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 1, F. Spencer (ed.) (1997), p. 425).

“Hundt’s Antropologium discussed anatomy and physiology in their premodern forms as well as the religious and philosophical aspects of humans. Thomas Bendyshe (1865) called the Antropolgium “a purely anatomical work”, and Joseph Barnard Davis (1868) added that it was “ornamented with rude woodcuts, depicting gross inaccuracies”. But this misrepresented Hundt’s holistic attempt to explain the dual nature of humans (body and soul) from both an anatomical and a religious perspective. Convinced that humans were created in the image of God (Homo est dei imago secundum animam), Hundt regarded the spiritual component to be more important than the material one. He wanted to show people their dignity, as indicated in his book’s title, by expanding on earlier views of humans at an intersection between the creator and the creation (Homo est dei et mundi nodus)” (H. F. Vermeulen, Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment (2015), p. 360).

Magnus Hundt was born at Magdeburg in 1449 and died in Meissen in 1519. He was a renowned German theologian, physician and philosopher, and is generally regarded, jointly with Otto Casmann, as one of the founders of contemporary anthropology. In fact, the term was jointly coined and in due course popularized by both of them. Starting his studies at the age of 33 in Leipzig, Hundt received his Baccalaureate two years later. In 1487, the year he received an advanced degree, he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Later in his illustrious career he was given the post of Rector at the University, and is also said to have served as the personal physician for Count Joachimsthal. Nevertheless, his personal interests went far beyond medicine. Thus, he earned a doctorate degree in theology in 1510 and consequently occupied a chair in this subject at the University of Meissen, a location to which the University of Leipzig was relocated after the plague.

Hundt’s Antropologium is here bound with:

PINDER [or BINDER], Ulrich. Epiphanie medicorum. Speculum videndi urinas hominum. Clavis aperiendi portas pulsuum. Berillus discernendi causas & differentias febrium. [Nuremberg: Friedrich Peypus? for the author, 1506].

First edition, privately printed at the author’s press. “The first and longest of Binder’s three medical works in this collection treats of the practice of uroscopy, the diagnosis of illness by examination of the color and consistency of a patient’s urine. The full-page woodcut preceding the work shows a uroscopic consultation, and is surrounded by a border of urine glasses. The remaining treatises deal with the movement of the heart and pulse, and with various types of fever. Durling states that Epiphanie medicorum was printed in the author's home in Nuremberg by the so-called ‘Printer of the Sodalitas Celtica,’ tentatively identified as Friedrich Peypus.

A native of Nordlingen, Pinder practiced medicine there from 1484-1489, before becoming in turn physician to the Elector Frederick of Saxony, and, in 1493, physician to the City of Nuremberg. This diagnostic treatise for the use of physicians, divided into three sections treating uroscopy, analysis of the pulse, and the various types of fever, was printed on a press that Pinder had installed in his house in 1505, probably by his future son-in-law Friedrich Peypus, who printed at least 11 editions there between 1505 and 1513, mostly of Pinder’s works. The types are those of the Printer of the Sodalitas Celtica, with whom Peypus may have learned printing. In 1515 Peypus moved the press - apparently part of his wife’s dowry - to a new address; he remained active until 1534 (cf. Benzing pp. 332-333, nos. 12 and 15). The volume also includes Gilles de Corbeil’s Carmina de urinarum judiciis, but omits the epilogue found in Choulant’s edition of that text. “Pinder’s edition is not listed in Choulant’s bibliography of printed editions of Gilles, and contains a number of variant readings not recorded by him” (Durling).

[Hundt:] Norman 1115; Garrison-Morton 363.3; Stillwell 664; Flamm 15; Choulant-Frank pp. 125-126; Wellcome 3362a (lacking last 4ff).



4to (205 x 153 mm), 120 leaves, unpaginated. Contemporary German blind-tooled half pig skin over wooden boards, numerous annotations throughout the text. Some gathering with light toning, but in general a beutiful copy. Highly scarce in such fine condition.

Item #4830

Price: $165,000.00

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