Opuscula anatomica.

Venice: Vincenzo Luchino, 1564.

First edition, very rare, and a fine copy, of one of the most important of all anatomical books. “Eustachi’s first works were Ossium examen and Demotu capitis, both written in 1561 and directed against the anti-Galenism of Vesalius, for whom he had developed a unilateral hostility. Otherwise his researches had a more unbiased scientific purpose and displayed his notable ability as an anatomist. In 1562 and 1563 Eustachi produced a remarkable series of treatises on the kidney, De renum structura; the auditory organ, De auditus organis; the venous system, De vena quae azygos graecis dicitur; and the teeth, De dentibus. These were published, together with the two earlier defenses of Galen, in Opuscula anatomica (1564), although the De dentibus has a separate title page bearing the date 1563. The treatise on the kidney was the first work specifically dedicated to that organ—it displays a detailed knowledge of the kidney superior to that of any earlier work and contains the first account of the suprarenal gland and a correct determination of the relative levels of the kidneys. It was also in this treatise that Eustachi for the first time emphasized the problem of anatomical variation, which had been previously touched upon briefly by Vesalius. The second treatise on the auditory organ provides a correct account of the tube (tuba auditiua) that is still referred to eponymously by Eustachi’s name, and contains a description of the tensor tympani and stapedius muscles … Eustachi, basing his work on the dissection of fetuses and newborn children, was also the first to make a study of the teeth in any considerable detail. He provided an important description of the first and second dentitions and, in some respects preceded by the account of Falloppio, described the hard outer tissue and soft inner structure of the teeth. He further attempted an explanation of the problem, not yet completely solved, of the sensitivity of the tooth’s hard structure. In his work on the azygos vein and its ramifications Eustachi described the thoracic duct and indicated a careful and relatively advanced knowledge of the heart’s structure” (DSB). The fine etchings illustrating the edition “were the first eight in an intended series of forty-seven anatomical plates engraved by Giulio de’ Musi after drawings by Eustachi and his relative, Pier Matteo Pini, an artist. These were prepared in 1552 to illustrate a projected book entitled De dissensionibus ac controversiis anatomicis, the text of which was lost after Eustachi's death. Had the full series of plates been published at the time of their completion, Eustachi would have ranked with Vesalius as a founder of modern anatomy” (Grolier Medicine). It has been suggested that Eustachio’s discovery of the Eustachian tube connecting the ear and throat may have given Shakespeare the idea for the method used to murder Hamlet’s father – a drop of poison in the ear. ABPC/RBH list no complete copy since Norman (Christie's New York, Mar 18, 1998, lot 85, $40,250 – “Title-page with a few dampstains and piece of outer margin patched”), and only two copies before that (1991 and 1976).

Provenance: Two early and only partially legible ownership inscriptions on front free endleaf, the second possibly ‘Luce Passinerii lectoris ticenensis [University of Pavia]; ink stamp ‘Prof. Giuseppe Franchini’ on rear endleaf.

“In 1562 and 1563 Eustachi wrote a series of anatomical treatises on the kidneys (“De renum structura”), the organ of hearing (“De auditus organis”), the venous system (“De vena quae azygos graecis dicitur”) and the teeth (“De dentibus”), which he issued together under the title Opuscula anatomica. The treatise on the kidney, the first work devoted specifically to the organ, showed a detailed knowledge of the kidney surpassing any earlier work; it contained the first account of the adrenal (suprarenal) gland and a correct determination of the relative levels of the kidneys. The treatise on the ear provided the first post-classical account of the Eustachian tube, while the work on the azygos vein contained the first description of the thoracic duct and of the valvula venae in the right ventricle of the heart, the so-called “Eustachian valve.” In his treatise on dentistry Eustachi was the first to study the teeth in any great detail: basing his work on the dissection of fetuses and stillborn infants, he gave an important description of the first and second dentitions, described the hard outer tissue and soft inner structure of the teeth, and attempted an explanation of the problem (not yet completely solved) of the sensitivity of the tooth’s hard structure. This last work was also issued separately: it bears its own title-leaf dated 1563” (Norman).

“[The Opuscula] contains 46 chapters on the kidney and is divided into four sections: (1) on the structure; (2) on the function of the kidneys; (3) on the usefulness of the structure of the kidneys; (4) on the dissection of the kidneys … The section on the kidney is illustrated by seven plates. The first three depict the external appearance of the kidneys and their vascular connections to the aorta and inferior vena cava. In them, the suprarenal glands are shown for the first time. The fourth plate shows the entry of the thoracic duct into the venous system as well as what appears to be a simple polycystic kidney and a pel­vic kidney. Of greatest interest is plate five, in which a human kidney is bisected sagittally to reveal the renal pyramids with their papillae opening into the pelvicalyceal system. There is also a depiction of a kidney in which the renal parenchyma is absent. The accuracy of thisillustration extends to include a precise depiction of the arcuate and interlobular vessels. The sixth and seventh plates show the interior of bisected dog kidneys … his concept to the renal function based upon his idea of the ultrastructure of the kidney is delineated in chapter 37 as follows:

‘Although the kidneys appear to have been designated as bodies with vertical lines extending from their centers to their circumferences, lines of this type are nowhere more distinct than in those sections we have indicated, and represent small glandules resembling the nipples of the breast (papillae). Although many may think that they are fibers of the kidney, some think they are branches of the blood vessels which are as fine as hairs. For my part, I think that there are certain furrows and small canals (tubules) in the substance of the kidney which are carved out for flowing liquids and fluids. It is through these (tubules) that the urine is filtered into the renal cavity (pelvis). The urinary vessel (ureter) is not perforated in any place other than where it receives these glands (i.e., where the renal papillae project into the pelvis). For if one wished to contemplate the ingenuity of nature in many of its facets it should not be so amazing that the furrows or small canals, which are distinct within the substance of the kidney, should filter (distil) the urine.’

“Eustachio has clearly described the renal collecting tubules which later came to be known as the ducts of Bellini or collecting ducts” (Fine, pp. 48-49). Bellini’s description was not published until more than a century later, in his Exercitatio anatomica de structura et usu renum (1662).

Eustachio’s treatise on teeth [De dentibus] “was the first book devoted to the subject, and presented the anatomy of the teeth as well as concepts of their development and function. Some dental diseases are also discussed. While Vesalius differentiated between the structure of teeth and bones, against Galenic teaching, Eustachio claimed that Galen really understood the difference, which was, of course, obvious to Eustachio. While Eustachio described the dental pulp in detail, with its nerve and blood supply, he offered the opinion that Galen must have known about the dental pulp, even if he and his successors never mentioned it. In addition to the first clear description of the dental pulp and root canal, Eustachio described the periodontal membrane for the first time and thought of it as a gomphosis type of joint. Eustachio understood that the crowns of the teeth were composed of enamel overlying dentin and this was the first description of the two separate tissues of the tooth. Occlusion was described in detail, in man as well as in animals. The permanent teeth were found to develop from dental follicles, and not from the roots of the deciduous teeth, as postulated by Vesalius … Eustachio also described some of the diseases of the mouth in his last chapter, was well as a rationale for the treatment. His treatment of periodontitis was remarkably modern, in that he advised both scaling of the calculus and curettage of granulation tissue so that there could be a reattachment of the gingival and periodontal tissues” (Shklar & Chernin, pp. 27-29).

An interesting and highly unusual feature of the illustrations in the Opuscula is the way Eustachio uses a grid system, similar to the latitude-longitude coordinate system used on maps, as a way of marking the location and scale of the parts – he advised using rulers to find the grid references.

The long search for the missing 39 plates culminated in their discovery in the hands of a descendant of Pier Matteo Pini and their publication as Tabulae anatomicae (Rome, 1714) by Giovanni Maria Lancisi, the physician of Pope Clement XI and a successor to Eustachio in the chair of anatomy at the Sapienza. “The plates are strikingly modern, produced without the conventional sixteenth-century decorative accompaniments and framed on three sides by numbered rules providing coordinates by which any part of the image could be located… The images are generic figures, composites of many anatomical observations, and are mathematically as well as representationally exact” (Norman).

Relatively little is known about the life of Bartolomeo Eustachi. He was born in San Severino, most probably in the district of Ancona, although some authors maintain that it may have been San Severino in Calabria. His year of birth has been given as 1500, 1510, 1513 (most probable), 1520, and even 1524. Bartolomeo was the son of Mariano Eustachi, a celebrated physician said to be of noble family, and Francesca (Benvenuti) Eustachi. Mariano insisted upon a well-rounded humanistic education, in the course of which Eustachi acquired such an excellent knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic that he was able to edit an edition of the Hippocratic glossary of Erotian (1566) and is said to have made his own translations of Avicenna from the Arabic. He appears to have studied medicine at the Archiginnsio della Sapenza in Rome, but it is not known precisely when. He began to practice medicine about 1540. Eustachi’s talents were soon noticed by the duke of Urbino, who requested Eustachi as his personal physician. In 1547, Eustachi accepted the invitation to serve as physician to the duke’s brother, Cardinal Giulio della Rovere, whom Eustachi followed to Rome in 1549. There he became protomedico and was invited to join the medical faculty of the Collegia della Sapienza as the equivalent of professor of anatomy. This academic position granted him permission to obtain cadavers for dissection from the hospitals of Santo Spirito and Consolazione. With advancing years Eustachi was so severely afflicted by gout that he was compelled to resign his post at the Sapienza. He continued, however, to serve Cardinal della Rovere, and it was in response to the cardinal’s summons to Fossombrone in 1574 that he set forth, only to die on the way.

Jeremy Norman has pointed out that the original title page of the Opuscula was dated 1563 and was without the publisher’s name, as indeed is the case with the separate title page to De dentibus. The date was then altered by adding an extra ‘I’ to the date (resulting in MDLXIIII rather than the conventional MDLXIV) and the publisher’s name added, possibly by partially reprinting the sheet or, as seems to us more likely, by hand-stamping – both the added ‘I’ and the publisher’s name are often misaligned. We are not aware of any copy with the unaltered 1563 title page having appeared on the market.

Adams E-1103; Choulant-Frank pp. 200-01; Garrison-Morton 801 (cardiology), 1093 (lymphatics), 1139 (anatomy of the glands), 1228 (urology, the first work cited on the kidney), 1538 (otology), and 3668 (dentistry); Grolier Medicine 21; Heirs of Hippocrates 322; NLM/Durling 1408; Norman 739; Wellcome 2091. Choulant, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration (1920), pp. 200-202. Fine, ‘Eustachio’s discovery of the renal tubule,’ American Journal of Nephrology 6 (1986), pp. 47-50. Shklar & Chernin, ‘Eustachio and ‘Libellus de Dentibus’: the first book devoted to the structure and function of the teeth,’ Journal of the History of Dentistry 48 (2000), pp. 25-30.

4to (202 x 145mm), pp. [lii], 323, [recte 331], [1, blank]; [164]; [8], 95, [1], with woodcut printer's device on titles and last leaf of Libellus de dentibus, and eight full-page engraved plates printed on recto or verso of letterpress pages 1, 4, 9, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, but not included in the pagination (a few gatherings with some very faint marginal water-staining, old repair to small closed marginal tear to title without loss of text or surface). Contemporary limp vellum with remnants of ties, labelled in ink on spine and lower fore edge (old repair to head of spine). A fine fresh, crisp copy.

Item #5227

Price: $125,000.00

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