The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte. Giovanni da Vigo, 1450?-1525.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.
The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.

The most excelent worckes of chirurgery, made and set forth by maister Iohn Vigon, head chirurgien of oure tyme in Italy, traunslated into Englishe. Wherunto is added an exposition of straunge termes and vnknowen symples, belongynge vnto the arte.

London: Imprynted by Edwarde Whytchurch, wyth the Kynges moste graciouse priuelege for seuen yeres. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum, 1550.

Price: $28,000.00

Folio: 28.5 x 19 cm. [6], cclxx, [15] leaves. Collation: [par.]6, A-Z6, Aa-Zz6, [et]6 Aaa4(-leaf Aaa4 blank)

SECOND EDITION IN ENGLISH (1st ed. 1543) of Vigo’s “Practica in arte chirurgica copiosa”(1514) and “Practica in arte chirurgica compendiosa”(1517), translated by Bartholomew Traheron (?1510-?1558).

A fine copy bound in contemporary English calf, rebacked and re-sewn, with leather straps (and possibly the clasps) renewed. The boards are paneled in blind and patterned with decorative roll stamps. Historiated woodcut title border, numerous and varied attractive woodcut initials throughout. The text itself in fine, crisp condition with broad margins. There a few minor damp stains and scattered marginal soiling, a light oil spot on 4 lvs in sig. Dd, two paper imperfections at the lower corner of leaves Aa4 and Gg4 (not affecting the text). Outer edge of lvs. gg1-2 darkened and a little frayed, lvs. of sig Hh and the bifolium K3-4 lightly stained at edges. Provenance: Contemporary ownership inscription of Peter Oviatt (d. 1576), vicar of Frampton on Severn from 1559-1576. Rare. 7 copies in North America: Countway, Folger, Huntington, Wisconsin, NYAM, Morgan Library, Kansas. (The first edition is equally rare.).

The “Practica in arte chirurgica copiosa”(1514) and the shorter “Practica in arte chirurgica compendiosa”(1517) were two of the most important surgical treatises of the 16th c. Written by the Italian surgeon Giovanni da Vigo, who served as personal surgeon to Pope Julius II and attended him on the battlefield, the “Practica copiosa” was “"the first complete system of surgery after that of Guy de Chauliac”(Garrison-Morton) and “the chief surgical textbook until the time of Ambroise Paré.”(Eimas).

Bartholomew Traheron’s translation of Vigo’s works stands as the first English translation of a comprehensive Renaissance surgical text. Henry VIII himself owned a copy of Traheron’s “Chirurgery”, and the translation further popularized a work already widely-used in England.

To assist his readers, Traheron included a 30-page glossary titled “The interpretation of straunge words, used in the translation of Vigon”. Printed only four years after Sir Thomas Elyot’s “Castel of helth”, the glossary played a role in the ongoing adaptation of non-English vocabulary (including scientific and technical words) for use in English.(See McConchie, English Medical Dictionaries and Lexicographers 1547 to 1796, pp. 50-53)

“The ‘Practica in arte chirurgica copiosa’ consists of nine books ranging from a consideration of anatomy necessary for a surgeon, to sections on abscesses, wounds, ulcers, benign and malignant tumors, fractures and dislocations, pharmaceuticals, ointments and plasters, as well as sections on dentistry, exercise, diet, syphilis, among others.

“Da Vigo introduces a novel approach for treating mandible dislocations and describes a trephine he invented, as well as a number of new instruments. Examination of his work demonstrates that he had a broad knowledge in surgery, based in part on the ancient Greek and Arabic medical literature but mainly on his personal experience. Vigo contributed significantly to the revival of medicine in the sixteenth century, and he can be considered as a bridge between Greek medicine of antiquity, Arabic medicine, and the Renaissance.”(Gurunluoglu)

Vigo’s “Practica” met with enormous success. Within thirty years it achieved twenty-one editions and was translated into Italian, English, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese. It was “the chief surgical textbook until the time of Paré. Part of its great popularity was due no doubt to Vigo’s discussion of two major problems of his time: gunshot wounds and syphilis. He recommended cautery and boiling oil for treating gunshot wounds and mercury-based ointments and inunctions for syphilis. Vigo was also interested in dentistry and was one of the first to use gold leaf to fill cavities of the teeth. In spite of the fact that his works were widely published, early editions are rare.”(Eimas)

Three years after publishing the “Practica Copiosa”, and “possibly stimulated by the ‘Compendium in chirurgia’ (1514) of his pupil Mariano Santo da Barletta, Vigo published the five-book ‘Practica in arte chirurgica compendiosa’, in which he amplified and made more precise his teaching on certain topics, particularly on trephination. He was the first in the [Renaissance] to describe the crown saw for removing a bone disk from the skull, an instrument known to Hippocrates but long fallen into oblivion.”(Talbot, Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

Durling 4616; ESTC S117847 (STC 24721); Wellcome I 6621 (Ff. 19-240 only); cf. Garrison-Morton 5559.1. On Henry VIII’s copy, see David Starkey, ed. The Inventory of King Henry VIII: The Transcript, (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1998), p. 72, no. 2369; (From Society of Antiquaries MS 129 and BL Harleian MS 1,419)