Story of the object
Mesue the Elder (Yuhanna Ibn Masawalh 777-857) a person or a Syriac Christian Nestorian from the Academy of Gundishapur who became the director of the hospital of Baghdad in the ninth century and contributed to transfer medical knowledge from Alexandria to Baghdad and consent the birth of the great season of Arabic medicine. He wrote in Syriac and Arabic. He was the chief of physicians at the medical school in Baghdad, and an expert in gynaecology, ophthalmology, and anatomy. The works of Mesue has been published in 123 editions from the fifteenth century, 1471 the year of the first printed edition of the Opera Medicinalia, until 1778 the last edition printed in Spain. Compared to other works published in that period, this work was second only to the Regimen Sanitatis. With the different editions' success, other Mesue's works were added to the original collection, and his work became one of the most used handbooks into the European Medical School of the Middle Age. Despite the Mesue's clinical activity being intense, the original core of his works was pharmaceutical. The opera is a collection of three books: De Simplicibus focused on a description of substances required to develop 49 purgatives, used to reset the imbalance of the four senses of humour theorized in the Hippocratic senses of humour' Theory as the cause of every illness. The second book is the Grabadin, a compounds medicine of two or more different composts, integrated by honey, wax, sugar, lard and oil. The book lists more than four hundred compounds of medicine with related recipes to prepare medications. The third book is the Canones Universales a set of general purges with the related instructions to prepare and use them. The manuscripts appeared in Latin in the thirteenth century in Europe and were translated and commented on by academic authorities such as Peter of Abano, Francisco Pedemontanus or Mondino de Liuzzi. The early manuscript in Latin is a translation of Arabic of 1281, appeared in Northern Italy, the current format is due nearly to the edition with annotation of Giovanni Mainardi (1462-1536) professor of Medicine in Ferrara, and Jacques Dubois a professor in the Paris medical school that provided the current format of the book titled De re medica edited in seventeenth editions between 1542 and 1635. The legacy of Mesue is essential to the development of the Western pharmacopoeia, and this book testifies the long process of medical knowledge genesis possible through the Middle Age.
The book is part of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid collection, and Rollius/Rolletius have printed the edition, Lugduni 1548 (et Antonii Constantini) translated by Iacobo Sylvio. The format of the book is , 495; 8º.