DE ARTE GYMNASTICA LIBRI SEX in quibus exercitationum omnium vetustarum genera, loca, modi, facultates & quidquid denique as corporis humani eaxercitationes pertinet diligenter explicatur.
MERCURIALIS, Hieronymus (1530-1606) , Pirro Ligorio (illus.)
Venetiis: Apud Iuntas [Giunta Press], 1587. Third edition Large 8vo, pp. [xii]. 308 [ie. 312]; . Fleur-de-lys and initials "L A " with a frame of fauns on the title page. The 23 full page wood cuts are copies of those designed for the author by Pirro Ligorio (1510-1583) and cut by Cristoforo Coriolani. Bound in contemporary vellum (lacks 2 inches at the bottom of the spine, cut to the top of the spine), 18th century ownership mark on the corner of the title-page, some other holograph on the end paper, generally a very clean copy with wide margins. Durling 3090; Garrison-Morton 1986); the second edition of 1573 was the first illustrated book on gymnastics; Brunet III:1646; Wellcome IV, p.116; Olser 3387. (Item ID: 47168)
Mainly a page for page reprint of the second edition of 1573. First published in 1569, it is "one of the earliest books to discuss the therapeutic value of gymnastics and sports generally for the cure of disease and disability, and an important study of gymnastics in the ancient world" (Garrison-Morton 1986). Born in the city of Forlė, the son of Giovanni Mercuriali, also a doctor, Mercurialis was educated at Bologna and Padua and Venice, where he received his doctorate in 1555. Moving to Rome, he studied the classical and medical literature of the Greeks and Romans. His studies of the attitudes of the ancients toward diet, exercise and hygiene and the use of natural methods for the cure of disease culminated in the publication of his De Arte Gymnastica. With its explanations concerning the principles of physical therapy, it is considered the first book on sports medicine. The work gave Mercuriali fame. He was called to occupy the chair of practical medicine in Padua in 1569. In 1573, he was called to Vienna to treat the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II. The emperor, pleased with Mercuriali's treatment (although Maximilian would die three years later), made him Count Palatine. He returned home in the following years; in 1575, the Venetian Senate awarded him a six-year contract as a professor at the University of Padua.