De ferro ejusque nivis praeparatione dissertatio physico-chymica in qua varia de ipso metallo explicantur. Joannes Hieroynmus ZANNICHELLI.
De ferro ejusque nivis praeparatione dissertatio physico-chymica in qua varia de ipso metallo explicantur
De ferro ejusque nivis praeparatione dissertatio physico-chymica in qua varia de ipso metallo explicantur
De ferro ejusque nivis praeparatione dissertatio physico-chymica in qua varia de ipso metallo explicantur
Iron Man
With 4 Engravings
Venice, Andrea Poleti, 1713.

De ferro ejusque nivis praeparatione dissertatio physico-chymica in qua varia de ipso metallo explicantur.

8vo. [18.6 x 12.0 cm], (8) ff. (the first blank), 79 pp., (1) p. blank verso, with (4) ff. engraved plates (one of which is folding), woodcut printer’s device on title and woodcut initials. Bound in contemporary vellum, title piece laid to spine, block-printed floral pastedowns, green silk ribbon bookmark. Very minor rubbing and staining to spine and boards. Internally very well preserved, with only the occasional minor stain.

Rare first edition of an early illustrated mineralogical treatise devoted to the element iron, written by the noted Venetian physician, apothecary and collector Giovanni Girolamo Zannichelli (1662-1729). While Zannichelli’s stated purpose is to introduce readers to his iron-based medicinal distillation, called ‘Iron Snow’ or ‘Snow of Mars’ (nix ferris; nix Martis), much of the volume is in fact given over to a broad discussion of iron’s properties, forms, geographical sources (from Norway to Palestine), and the like. Zannichelli is especially interested the crystallization of iron, and accordingly he includes 3 unusual engravings of iron crystals, one of which represents, “the earliest known illustration of a dendritic crystal” of iron (Hoover 904). A fine engraving of Hercules fighting the Hydra (signed by the Venetian printmaker Antonio Luciani) serves as the volume’s frontispiece; the connection of its iconography to the text is not explicit, but perhaps it should be taken as referring to the potency of Zannichelli’s drugs against a large number of ailments.

Zannichelli treats iron’s allegorical and alchemical association with the god Mars, its mingling with the element mercury, the rarity of pure iron, volcanoes as generators iron (Vesuvius, Aetna, Hekla in Iceland, etc.), magnetism, iron’s corruptibility and reactivity to acid, its amalgams, and even its sonic qualities (i.e., in bells). He catalogues 10 principal medical uses of his crystalized iron salts, the preparation which he derived from the work of a certain Frenchman called Saint-Hillaire. Whatever the real medical efficacy of Zannichelli’s ‘Iron Snow’ might have been, it should perhaps be noted that Lémery and Geoffroy discovered the presence of iron in blood in 1713, the very year Zannichelli published this treatise (Menghini would popularize these findings in 1747, further emphasizing iron’s important role in biochemistry).

Zanichelli built a successful apothecary business in Venice in the 1680s and was awarded a medical degree in 1702. He journeyed around the Adriatic to study its natural history, becoming an authority on chemistry, botany, minerology, and petrology, and his collection of fossils was displayed in his important natural history cabinet in Venice. This cabinet of curiosities was published in his Variorum fossilium apparatus ex collectaneis J. H. Zannichelli (1720), his Ex naturae Gazophylacio Penes (1726) and (edited by his son Giovanni Jacopo Zannichelli) in the Enumeratio rerum naturalium quae in Musaeo Zannichelliano asservantur (1736). Zanichelli’s other botanical, geological, and medical works include, Historia delle piante che nascono ne’ lidi intorno a Venezia (1735); De Myriophyllo pelagico (Poleti, 1714), De lithographia duorum montium Veronensium (1721) and Promptuarium remediorm chymicorum (1701).

OCLC locates U.S. examples of 1713 first edition of the present work at Stanford, Delaware, Illinois, and Wisconsin. A second edition appeared in 1719 (held at Wisconsin, NY Academy of Medicine, Claremont Colleges and Harvard Medical).

* Hoover Mining & Metallurgy, 904; Duveen, 631; Jöcher IV.2151; Poggendorff, 2.1392-3; F. Dupre, Elogio storico de G. Girolamo Zannichelli farmacista; L. Corrado, Giovanni Girolamo Zannichelli, speciale a Venezia e il suo tempo; R. O. Wallerstein & S. R. Mettier, eds., Iron in Clinical Medicine.

Price: $1,850.00

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