Sent on a trip to America with Christopher Columbus by the Catholic Kings as a personal doctor: Diego Álvarez Chanca's treatise on the eyes and vision

Tractatus de Fascinatione

Tractatus de Fascinatione

Tractatus de Fascinatione

  1. Diego Álvarez Chanca (d. 1515), the author of the codex at hand, was a Spanish physician of the highest order

  2. The Catholic Monarchs sent Chanca to attend to Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) on the second voyage to America

  3. His Latin treatise on eyes and vision was published in Seville by Pedro Brun in 1499, after his return from America

Tractatus de Fascinatione

Tractatus de Fascinatione – 11383 – Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

A Latin treatise on eyes and vision, also called Libro de Ojo or Book of the Eye, by a Spanish physician of the highest order: Diego Álvarez Chanca (d. 1515). The ophthalmological text was printed in a fine Gothic script adorned with engraved initials and frames consisting of flowers, insects, and animals. Chanca was employed as physician-in-ordinary to the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) and Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452-1516), who sent Chanca to attend to Columbus and his crew on the second voyage to America in 1493-94. A letter written by Chanca in Hispaniola back to Spain is the first document regarding the geography, botany, zoology, ethnography, and ethnology of the New World. Chanca was truly a physician and intellectual of the highest order!

Tractatus de Fascinatione

Diego Álvarez Chanca (d. 1515), the author of the codex at hand, was a Spanish physician of the highest order. It is a Latin treatise on eyes and vision, also called Libro de Ojo or Book of the Eye, which was published in 1499 by Pedro Brun in Seville. The medical text was printed in a fine Gothic script adorned with engraved initials and frames consisting of flowers, insects, and animals. The ophthalmological treatise is famous today, but curiously, it was not mentioned by the German philologist Konrad Haebler (1857-1946), nor is it listed in the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, an ongoing project of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin cataloguing incunabula, early printed books originating before 1501. Chanca was employed as physician-in-ordinary to the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) and Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452-1516) and attended to members of the royal family personally. He would become famous for a lengthy expedition he undertook on their behalf.

A Royal Physician in the New World

After the first transatlantic voyage of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), the Catholic Monarchs sent Chanca to attend to Columbus and his crew on the second voyage of 1493-94, making him one of the first to describe America’s flora, fauna, and people with the discerning eye of a top-physician. Chanca’s letter from Hispaniola to Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca (1451-1524), an influential archbishop and counsellor to the Catholic Monarchs in his hometown of Seville, is the first document regarding the geography, botany, zoology, ethnography, and ethnology of the New World. These studies included a comparison of the Taino and Carib peoples, who were rivals living throughout the Caribbean. His services immediately came in handy: shortly after landing on the island of Hispaniola, Columbus was struck with malarial fever, but was successfully treated by Chanca, as were several similarly afflicted members of the crew. Chanca was also consulted by Columbus when he was selecting the site of his first settlement, Isabella, presumably to find a location that would minimize their exposure to disease-carrying mosquitos.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Tractatus de Fascinatione“

Tractatus de Fascinatione
Tractatus de Fascinatione – 11383 – Biblioteca Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
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Tractatus de Fascinatione

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1999
More Information
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.
Price Category: €
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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