Artzney Book of Christoph Wirsung

Artzney Book of Christoph Wirsung – Bibliotheca Palatina Faksimile Verlag – Ms. Stamp. Pal. II. 491 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Heidelberg (Germany) β€” 1568

Splendidly bound and presented to the prince-electors of the Palatinate in 1571: the invaluable work of the gifted doctor and pharmacist Christoph Wirsung

  1. The surprisingly modern medical text by Christoph Wirsung (1500–71) was printed in Heidelberg by Johann Mayer in 1568

  2. Magnificently bound in 1571 by Guillaume Plunions, it was presented to Frederick III, Prince-Elector Palatine (1515–76)

  3. Wirsung’s intention in creating the book was to help both the rich and poor, rural and urban

Artzney Book of Christoph Wirsung

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Artzney Book of Christoph Wirsung

This 450-year-old German medical text is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and stood out among the other remedy books of the time: the 1568 Artzney Book by Christoph Wirsung (1500–71), printed in Heidelberg by Johann Mayer. More than merely a textbook of remedies, it was intended for a wide audience – rich and poor, urban and rural – as a general source of material on good health, taking into consideration such factors as environment, thus favoring what we would call a holistic approach to treatment. It was presented to Frederick III, Prince-Elector Palatine Frederick III (1515–76), the prominent Calvinist and pillar of the Reformation in Germany. The codex’s 933 pages contain more than 15,000 remedies and is written in German so as to make it accessible to everyone. It is a wonderful testimony to the burgeoning medical knowledge unleashed by the Renaissance.

Artzney Book of Christoph Wirsung

The cultural flowering of the Renaissance was also reflected in burgeoning medical knowledge, which was depicted in increasingly modern medical treatises. The 1568 Artzney Book by Christoph Wirsung (1500–71) is undoubtedly one of the finest specimens of this genre and was printed in Heidelberg by Johann Mayer. A gilded, brightly colored, and completely innovative binding was added to the work in 1571 by Guillaume Plunions, a French Huguenot, before it was presented to Frederick III, Prince-Elector Palatine Frederick III (1515–76), the prominent Calvinist and pillar of the Reformation in Germany who supposedly made use of the book himself. The book is thus a testament to the early intellectual efforts of Protestant Europeans.

A Guide for Self-Treatment

Wirsung’s intention in creating the book was to help both the rich and poor, rural and urban, by offering a resource filled with simple remedies accessible to all. The book reflects Wirsung’s 25+ years of experience as a pharmacist and is based on a collection of texts originally written in Latin that the author then translated into German for publication to a lay audience. A distrust of doctors in the Middle Ages made practical texts like these, focused on self-treatment, extremely popular and many of their remedies are still effective today. This German medical text far exceeds the standards of the time and goes beyond being a simple textbook, constituting general reading for those who wished to have a better understanding of their own health.

15,000+ Remedies

Born in Augsburg, Christoph Wirsung spent much of his youth in Italy acquiring a humanist education as well as a mastery of the Italian language. Upon returning to Augsburg, he worked for the next 25+ years as a pharmacist, collecting over 15,000 remedies from both domestic and foreign sources. All of this was recorded in a large printed work comprising 933 pages. Rather than being organized alphabetically, the work follows a classical capite ad calcem (head to foot) formation, dividing the body into various areas like the head, chest, abdomen, etc. Although many of the remedies are no longer valid, and some are even dangerous, many more are proven to be efficacious. Modified versions of some of these remedies are still in use today. Going beyond the immediate goal of finding remedies, the book took a holistic approach and considered other factors such as the environment in which one lived, something which modern medicine is only recently learning to take into account once more.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Das Heidelberger Artzney-Buch 1568 des Christoph Wirsung
Das Heidelberger Artzney-Buch 1568 des Christoph Wirsung: Naturheilkunde in der Frühen Neuzeit
Size / Format
933 pages / 33.0 Γ— 21.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1568
Language
Content
Recipe collection of about 15,000 formulas for medicines
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 Das Heidelberger Artzney-Buch 1568 des Christoph Wirsung: Naturheilkunde in der Frühen Neuzeit

Bibliotheca Palatina Faksimile Verlag – Knittingen, 2011

Publisher: Bibliotheca Palatina Faksimile Verlag – Knittingen, 2011
Commentary: 1 volume by Ulrike Schofer and Kathrin Pfister
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Saint Petersburg Book of Simple Medicines – M. Moleiro Editor – FP. Fv VI #1 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Saint Petersburg Book of Simple Medicines
France – Late 15th century

Nearly 400 naturalistic illustrations of the medicinal plants of the Middle Ages that are as useful as they are beautiful: Robinet Testard's gold-decorated masterpiece on naturopathy for the Count of AngoulΓͺme

Experience More
Naples Dioscorides – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Ms. ex Vindob. gr. 1 – Biblioteca Nazionale "Vittorio Emanuele III" (Naples, Italy)
Naples Dioscorides
Byzantium or Southern Italy – Beginning of the 7th century

Decorated with over 400 naturalistic illustrations: a magnificent Byzantine copy of the great pharmacological masterpiece of Dioscorides

Experience More
Flora Sinensis – Orbis Pictus – 412 – Biblioteka KΓ³rnicka (KΓ³rnik, Poland)
Flora Sinensis
Vienna (Austria) – 1656

Exotic plants in a special herbal with 23 hand-colored woodcuts: The first systematic encyclopedia on the botany of distant China, compiled by the Polish missionary MichaΕ‚ Boym

Experience More
Historia Plantarum – Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Ms. 459 – Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome, Italy)
Historia Plantarum
Milan (Italy) – End of the 14th century

A royal gift from the court of the powerful Gian Galeazzo Visconti in Milan: Ibn Butlan's influential medical encyclopedia in a large and magnificently illuminated pictorial codex for King Wenceslas

Experience More
Medicina Antiqua – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Vindob. 93 – Γ–sterreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Medicina Antiqua
Southern Italy, possibly in the circle of the Staufer court (Italy) – 1st half of the 13th century

Instructions for self-treatment for critics of medieval orthodox medicine: a medical handbook critical of doctors, with ancient texts and fascinating pictures of plants, animals, and therapeutic scenes

Experience More
Vienna Dioscorides – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Vindob. Med. gr. 1 – Γ–sterreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Vienna Dioscorides
Istanbul (Turkey) – Ca. 512

A milestone of medicine created 1500 years ago in Byzantium: Dioscorides' significant work on herbal medicine in a magnificently illuminated manuscript with almost 500 depictions of plants and animals

Experience More
Mariner's Mirror – Centrum Cartographie Verlag GmbH – T. Fol. 164 – Utrecht University Library (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Mariner's Mirror
Amsterdam (Netherlands) – 1589

Nautical charts combined with instructions for sailing and navigation: Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer's atlas of the waters of Western and Northern Europe was the first of its kind and a bestseller from the Golden Age of Dutch cartography

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher