The "pure" Purpura: a perhaps unrecorded edition

Colonna, F. [Columna]

Opusculum de Purpura, Romae primum, An. 1616. editum, & nunc iterùm Luci datum. Operâ ac Studio Johann-Danielis Majoris Medicinae D. Cujus novissimè accesserunt annotationes quedam.

Published 1675
Item ID 69893

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Kiliae [Kiel], Reumann, 1675. Small 4to (19.8 x 16.0 cm). [xii], 44, [x] pp.; 23 (groups of) woodcuts on the text pages, wood-engraved vignette on the last text page. Eighteenth-century blind wrappers. In green portfolio.

Second edition of the first 1616 edition by the Neapolitan botanist and zoologist Fabio Colonna (1567-1640), dealing with molluscs which produce the purple dye that was very important for colouring fabrics and other materials. This edition was edited by Johann-Daniel Major (1634-1693), professor of medicine at Kiel University and generally credited for the invention of blood infusions, as expounded in his "Chirurgia infusoria" of 1667. This edition consists of a dedication page to Augusto Friderico heredi Norwagiae (August Friedrich von Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf), a preface by Major, twenty short chapters on various molluscs and a brachiopod, and an index. The wood-engravings of shells (mainly gastropods and bivalves) and living animals are quite good and some serve as the type-figures of species validly described in the Linnaean era and, with a few exceptions, are still identifiable to the species level today. Nissen records another 188 pages written by Major, apparently containing "Annotationes ad Columnam De Purpura", and a "Doctrinae de testaceis specimen ... cum dictionario ostracologico", but those works by Major not present in our copy, which appears to be restricted to the subject dealt with by Colonna, as the title does not mention these parts. Binding weak, edges a bit frayed, paper lightly toned, otherwise a very good copy of this very scarce book (only three auction records in the last 35 years). Nissen ZBI, 928.

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