Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum…. Philipp Jacob SACHS.
Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum…
Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum…
Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum…
Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum…
Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum…
Curious Crustaceans
Early Work on Lobsters, Crabs, Shrimp, and Crayfish
With Discussion of Specimens from the Author’s Wunderkammer
[Crustaceans] / [Cabinets of Curiosity].
Frankfurt & Leipzig, Esaiae Fellgibelii, 1665.

Gammarologia [in Greek], sive, Gammarorum, vulgo Cancrorum….

8vo [15.6 x 9.0 cm], (1) f. engraved folding frontispiece, (44) ff., 1-216 pp., 219-835 pp., 854-962, (1) f. index, with X full-page engravings, woodcut initials, title page printed in red and black, numerous errors in pagination (complete). Bound in contemporary vellum, title in manuscript on spine, overlapping fore-edges. Only minor edge wear and rubbing to binding. Browning to some quires as typical of German books of this period, the occasional minor stain, plate VIII trimmed at bottom touching last line of text.

Scarce first edition of an early illustrated study on gammarids, or what today would generally be termed crustaceans, i.e., marine, river and terrestrial lobsters, crabs, crayfish, shrimps, and krill. This comprehensive treatise – here in a fine copy preserved a contemporary vellum binding – was written by Philipp Jakob Sachs von Loewenheim (1627-72), a German physician, naturalist, who today is remembered as editor of Ephemerides Academiae naturae curiosorum, the first ever learned journal in the field of medicine and natural history.

The volume opens with fascinating folding frontispiece depicting the god Oceanus and a god personifying the River Oder (Viadrus) who flank an American Indian displaying a species of crab native to Brazil. In the text Sachs exhaustively treats matters of anatomy, classification, habitat, and unusual features of crustaceans (e.g., the ability to regenerate limbs), and he discusses their gastronomical suitability and medicinal properties. The work’s 10 full-page engravings not only illustrate many Old and New World species, but also present images which belong more to the Wunderkammer tradition than to the incipient field of scientific zoology. In plate II, for example, a giant lobster is shown crushing a man to death (“Astacus hominem perimens”), while plate VII depicts a “stone hand” and a fossilized shell kept in the “Author’s museum.” The morphology of crustaceans is even applied to human medical conditions on Plate X, which depicts a child from Silesia born with lobster claw feet (split-foot malformation).

Sachs was a state physician in Breslau, and one of the founders of the Academia Naturae Curiosorum (Leopoldina). In addition to this work on crustaceans, he published Oceanus macro-microcosmicus (Wroclaw, 1664) and Miscellanea curiosa medico-physica, in Judicia medicorum (Wroclaw, 1671).

*Nissen, ZBI 3545; Cole 662; Krivatsy 10101; Parkinson-L. 2141; T. R. R. Stebbing, “Report on the Amphipoda Collected by the H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-1876,” in C. W. Thompson, ed., Report on the scientific results of the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during, vol. XXIX (1888), p. 5.

Price: $975.00

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