Modena: per Andrea Cassiani, 1670.
Quarto: 25 x 18 cm. 26 p. Collation: A-b4, C6 (complete with final blank leaf)
Bound in contemporary carta rustica, soiled. Internally a very good copy, final four leaves foxed, a few light stains, the impression of the type very deep. With a woodcut on the title page of Modena’s patron saint, San Geminiano, trampling the devil and holding the city of Modena in his left hand. Extremely rare. No copies located in KVK or OCLC. A 1677 edition is held at NLM. Other extant editions were printed at Modena in 1646 and in 1716.
A fascinating document (prezzario) for regulating pharmaceutical prices in 17th c. Modena: “Assessment of Prices of pharmaceuticals, both simple and compounded, for the use of pharmacists. Made by order of the Deputies of the Most Illustrious Community of Modena, Reviewed by the College of Physicians.” Fluctuation in prices and the availability of new simples and compounds required these pricing guides to be re-issued periodically.
Numerous towns and cities issued these guides with some frequency. However, given the ephemeral and utilitarian nature of these publications, all are extremely rare, and most editions are no longer represented by extant copies.
The book contains the names and prices of approximately 850 different ingredients and compound drugs, in the form of pills, elixirs, poultices, syrups, powders, dried herbs, etc., The price labels were to be affixed to the apothecary jars in the pharmacy.
The substances (animal, vegetable, mineral) range from the common to the exotic (rhinoceros horn). A number are from the New World, such as legno santo (Guaiacum sanctum), sassafras, cina-cina, tacamahac resin, michoacan bianco, and scialappa (jalap, i.e. “of Xalapa”). For an analysis of the prevalence of New World pharmaceuticals -and their prices- in 16th and 17th c. Italy, see Federica Rotelli, “Exotic plants in Italian pharmacopoeia”, p. 854 ff.
Included are waters from various thermal baths (Garfagnana, Brandola, etc.), agaric lozenges (for tuberculosis), lemon syrup, distillations of rose, sage, mint, etc.; aloe vera, cauterizing candles, cinnamon bark, poultices (bread crust, wheat, clover, etc.), antimony trioxide (an emetic), flower of sulfur (for skin diseases), electuaries (confections) for pills or plasters; gum arabic, animal fats (eel, goat, goose, frog, etc.), including fat “of a human castrato; “true” unicorn horn (i.e. of the unicorn, not “unicorn fossil”, i.e. narwhal or elephant tusk), artificial “mummy”, bezoars (from the stomachs of goats, stags, etc.), a large array of herbs, barks, and plant extracts; and numerous minerals (lapis lazuli, cinnabar, sapphire, topaz, etc.).
Cf. NLM 2387057R