A Classic in South American Natural History. The Greatly Expanded Second Edition

Piso, Willem (1611-1678); Marcgrave, Georg (1610-1644), Bondt, Jacob de (1592-1631)

De Indiae utriusque re naturali et medica: libri quatuordecim, quorum contenta pagina sequens exhibit. I. De aëribus, aquis, & locis; II. De natura & cura morborum, Occidentali Indiæ, imprimis Brasiliæ, familiarium; III. De animalibus, aquatilibus, volatilibus, & terrestribus, edulibus; IV. De arboribus, fructibus, & herbis medicis, atque alimentariis, nascentibus in Brasilia & regionibus vicinis; V. De noxiis & venenatis, eorumque antidotis. Quibus insertæ sunt animalium quorundam vivæ sectiones; tum & aliquot metamorphoses insectorim; VI. Mantissa aromatica &c., posita post Bontii tractatus -- Georgii Marcgravii ... I. Tractatus topographicus & meteorologicus Brasiliæ, cum observatione eclipsis solaris; II. Commentarius de Brasiliensium & Chilensium indole ac lingua &c. -- Jacobi Bontii ... I. De conservanda valetudine; II. Methodus medendi; III. Observationes in cadaveribus. IV. Notæ in Garciam ab Orta; V. Historia animalium; VI. Historia plantarum.

Amsterdam: Apud Ludovicum et Danielem Elzevirios, 1658


Folio: 34.5 x 21.7 cm. [24], 3-327 [i.e 329], [5], 39, 226, [2] p. Collation: *6-**6, A-Z6, Aa-Dd6, Ee6 (- leaf Ee6, blank), a-c6, d2, A-T6


Bound in contemporary calf, gilt spine, hinges split and with some light wear to the boards. An excellent, clean copy internally with only the slightest bit of fraying to the fore-margin of the engraved title page (not affecting the image), a small, very light stain to the blank margin of three leaves, and a tiny hole (not affecting the text) in one leaf. A handsome copy complete with the engraved title page.

Second edition of Piso and Marcgrave’s ‘Historia Naturalis Brasiliae’ edited by Johannes de Laet (Leiden and Amsterdam: 1648), which combined Piso’s ‘Medicina Brasiliensi’ and Marcgrave’s ‘Historiae Rerum Naturalium Brasiliae’. The work is illustrated with over 500 woodcuts of the native plants and animals of South America.

For this edition, Piso (who disliked Laet’s editorial work on the 1648 edition) decided to completely restructure and re-edit the two texts, and added de Bondt’s ‘Historiae Naturalis et Medicinae Indiae Orientalis’ and his own ‘Mantissa Aromatica’; due to the scientific talents of Piso and Marcgrave and the wealth of information on a wide variety of scientific and medical subjects, this work became one of the best-known works on South America. Marcgrave had traveled to Brazil in 1638 with Count Johan Maurits van Naussau-Siegen (the governor of Dutch Brazil), and, in this work, ‘composed the most notable scientific work completed in that country in the seventeenth-century’ (Borba de Moraes p. 675). The Dutch pharmacist and botanist Piso, ‘one of the pioneers of tropical medicine’ (DSB X, p. 622), had journeyed to Brazil in 1638 to become Nassau’s physician and to be head of a scientific mission sent by the Dutch West India Company, returning in 1644.

"Until the publication of the results of the great 19th-century expeditions, Piso’s 'Historia Naturalis' was the only illustrated work on Brazilian natural history. Sumptuously printed by Elzevir, it is one of the beautiful Dutch works on Braziliana."(Borba de Moraes)

Hunt Botanical, 280; Pritzel, 7157; Sabin, 63029; Alden-L. 658/129; Borba de M. 675 ff.; Willems 1236; Nissen, BBI 1533; Garrison-Morton, 2263.1; Bosch 109; Arnold Arboretum, p. 558