Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1548. Two volumes in one. 4to. [lxiv], 756; 128,  pp. FIRST VALGRISI EDITION, SECOND OVERALL EDITION. Each work with Valgrisi's allegorical woodcut serpent title page, woodcut historiated initials. With the occasional marginalia. Contemporary stiff vellum, early rebacking with hand printed title. An excellent copy with the exception of a small stain that runs through a few leaves towards the end of the first book, and some scattered browning to the last book, with a couple of edges repaired and fore edge of last leaf strengthened. Item #10671
First Valgrisi printing and second overall edition of this exceedingly rare commentary on Dioscordes' materia medica, famous for including the sixth book. It is also noted as the first unillustrated edition printed in quarto following the Mattioli's first published translation in folio, 1544, by Niccolo Bascarini. Valgrisi includes a note to the reader defending this printing with additions and changes in the text, and sets the title to give Mattioli's name prominence over that of Dioscorides.
While conducting his medical career, Mattioli (1501-77) began translating the works of Dioscorides, adding his commentaries and opinions, plus his observations on the references to plants from other writers, as well as the increasing number of newly discovered plants and their medicinal uses and virtues he treats in Book Six. Mattioli's editions of Dioscorides proliferated and the original text of the author became increasingly hard to find, especially because the illustrated works were more popular. The first illustrated edition appeared in Latin in 1554.
Of particular interest is Edward Green's notes in his Landmarks of Botanical History, in which he cites a fruitless search for a copy of the earliest editions: "I had expected it would be easy to procure as a loan from some of the older American libraries . . . he searched, wrote letters of inquiry, and the book was given up as not to be seen on this side of the Atlantic. . ." (pp. 510-11).