An influential work on chemical medicines

An influential work on chemical medicines

Oswald Croll (Crollius). Basilica chymica, continens philosophicam propria laborum in fine libri additus est eiusdem autoris tractatus novis de signaturis rerum internis.

 

Geneva, Paul Marceaux (Paulus Marcellus), 1610. 8vo (16,7 x 10 cm). [16], 364, [74], 92, [36] pp. With a few woodcuts in the text. Contemporary overlapping limp vellum.

 

Binding soiled, more severely on the spine, lower part of the back board damaged, two of the sewing supports broken leaving the front board partly detached, the title-page with traces of a removed inscription, lower right hand corner of title-page and first text leaf damaged (shaving a few letters), paper browned.

 

Rare second(?) edition (first 1609) of an influential work on chemical medicines and the methods of preparing them.

 

Crollius (1580-1609) was a Paracelsian physician, but unlike most Paracelsians he had a thorough university education, studying in Marburg, Heidelberg, Strassburg, and Geneva. He travelled about Eastern Europe, but finally settled in Prague, where he was frequently consulted by Emperor Rudolf II.

 

The Basilica chymica was the only work he wrote, published at the end of his life (or indeed posthumously). It went through some 18 editions and had considerable influence on 17th-century medicine and chemistry.

 

Divided into three sections it opens with a thorough introduction, followed by the Basilica chymica proper, and finally a section on signatures, with a separate part title.

 

"Oswald Crollius is one of the first chemical writers to emphasize the real chemical products of a reaction— rather than the distillate or the quintessence— as the desired substances to be collected" (Debus).

 

Parkinson & Lumb 612; cf. Caillet 2702 (1622 edition); Duveen, pp. 150-151 (other editions); Ferguson I, p. 185 (1620 edition); Debus, The Chemical Phil