De motu animalium. Editio altera, correctior & emendatior. Leiden: Petrum Vander Aa, 1685.
Two volumes in one. 4to. [xvi], 280, ; [iv], With engraved title page and 18 folding plates. Later (eighteenth- or nineteenth-century) half-calf over marbled boards; a few leaves browned due to paper stock, otherwise a very nice copy. $3,000.00
Second edition of Borelli's major work on the application of mechanics to the muscles and a classic work in cardiology. This scarce treatise, written in the year prior to his death and published posthumously, established muscular mechanics as a firm science. Volume I treats external motions, or the motions produced by the muscles; Volume II deals with internal motions, such as the movements of the muscles themselves, circulation, respiration, the secretion of fluids, and nervous activity. The fine plates illustrate his analyses of animal motion, including walking, running, jumping, weight-lifting, bird flight, fish movement, and insect creeping.
After Descartes, Borelli was the principal founder of the iatrophysical school. Inspired by Harvey's mathematical demonstration of the circulation of the blood, Borelli conceived of the body as a machine whose phenomena could be explained entirely by the laws of physics. Borelli was the first to recognize that bones were levers powered by the action of the muscle, the first to explain the heartbeat as a simple muscular contraction, and to ascribe its action to nervous stimulation. He was also the first to describe circulation as a simple hydraulic system.
An Italian physicist and physiologist, Borelli (1608-79), pupil of Galileo and close associate of Malpighi, was a representative of the iatromathematical school, which treated all physiological functions in terms of physics and mechanics.