Lyon: Jannot Deschamps for Etienne Gueynard and Jacques Huguetan, 1507 ("Pridie Kal. Augusti" = 31 July). First Edition. 2 parts in 1 volume, 4to. Collation: a6 b-k8 l6 A-G8 = 140 ff., COMPLETE. Persistent dampstain (not egregious) along 2" of top edge of text-block. Title-page in red and black with woodcut borders surrounding a large woodcut initial "D" with an Angel and Tree (?Jannot Deschamp's device); in the second part there is a woodcut of St. Louis, King of France; Deschamp's large device is found on fol. Gii. Altogether seven woodcuts (repeated) and two 15th-century metal engravings, depicting respectively the Adoration of the Magi and a Bishop kneeling before a Pope. Attractive old limp polished vellum, stained red now pleasingly faded (a little worn), later pastedowns and endpapers, traces of two pair of red silk ties, yapp edges. Item #2554
Fascinating volume of medical, theological, and historical opuscula compiled, and primarily written, by the Lyon phyisician and humanist Symphorien Champier. Most of the works in the present volume appear here for the first time. THIS FIRST EDITION IS ILLUSTRATED WITH TWO FIFTEENTH-CENTURY METAL CUTS impressed from the original blocks, as well as a beautiful woodcut of Champier and his wife kneeling before St. Symphorien, and the superb printer's device of Jannot Deschamps that has been described as "une des plus gracieuses parmi celles des imprimeurs lyonnois" (Allut). As we learn from sale catalogue of the Otto Schafer collection (whose copy realized USD $8,625 in 1995), "the two metalcuts (A8r, E8v) are of German origin, being descended among the typographica of Johann Neumeister. Neumeister used them first in his Mainz edition of the Meditationes of Turrecremata (1479), then in his reprint, Albi, 1481. Neumeister eventually moved into the printing trade in Lyons, where by the turn of the century he seems to have ended bankrupt."
¶ Part I contains works on medicine and health, combating the current astrological notions on the influence of constellations on diseases, but permeated by an occultist-mystical tinge. The first and foremost is Champier's "Liber de quadruplici vita" (see below) in which he contests the astrological notion that the stars influence one's life and health. This is followed by the Theology of Asclepius, a disciple of Hermes Trismegistus (Corpus Hermeticum XVI), translated from the Greek by Lodovico Lazzarelli; the "Enchiridion" formerly attributed to Pope Sixtus II; "Ad demonicum," a Latin translation of a Greek oration by Isocrates; Champier's own "Silve medicinales," an alphabetical list of pharmaceuticals extending 48-pages; and more. Especially noteworthy is Champier's "Liber de quadruplici vita," in which he condemn's the very foundations of Ficino's "De triplici vita." As Thorndike reports: "[Champier's] opposition to astrology, especially in medicine, was carried farther than even that of Gerson." In the third book ("De Vita Caelitus Comparanda") Champier disputes astral influences upon the health of mankind. Notably, he approaches the subject not as a physician but as a metaphysician. He writes about the perception that the stars can threaten man's health, freedom, destiny, and Providence. Champier intends to clearly mark the limits of astral power, and vehemently indicts all forms of astrology.
¶ Part II ("Tropheum Gallorum"), not present in all copies, has its own title-page and was clearly intended for publication with the first part. In it we find a history of France up to the time of Louis XII; a history of Lyon which includes descriptions of its antiquities and even inscriptions; and one of the EARLIEST BIBLIOGRAPHIES of French authors ("De viris illustribus nec non preclaris totius gallie scriptoribus") which extends to some 9 pages.
¶ Champier (ca. 1471-1537) studied at the University of Paris and medical school in Montpellier. "During his career, he engaged in the active practice of medicine and was a major figure in Lyons’ Renaissance” (Heirs of Hippocrates 167).
Paul Allut, Etude biographique et bibliographique sur Symphorien Champier (1859) no. VII (pp. 149-152), gives the fullest description of the present work. Adams C-1321. Baudrier XI, pp. 207-209. Durling 936. Isabelle Pantin, "Un debat sur les influences astrales (1507): Champier et Ficin" in: Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, Tom. 39, No. 3 (1977), pp. 545-547. See Thorndike's chapter on Champier in "History of Magic and Experimental Science," vol. V.
¶ Scarce on the market: in the last 52 years only one other complete copy has appeared at auction, namely the bespoke Otto Schafer copy (Sotheby's New York, 1 November 1995, lot 58 -- purchased by H.P. Kraus at Sotheby's London, 1 March 1966, lot 25). SOURCE: Rare Book Hub, which as of this writing has more than 8,600,000 records in the Rare Book Transaction History.