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Consilioque manuque

Surgery in the Manuscripts of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

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edited by Donatella Lippi

Exhibition catalogue: Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
3 October 2011-10 January 2012

Paperback
14 x 20 cm, 128 pp.
47 colour illustrations

978-88-7461-171-3 Italian
978-88-7461-172-0 English

In the successful series of outstanding exhibitions in the series entitled ‘The Library on Display’ the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana offers priceless codices, rare printed works and unique objects that document the history of surgery through the centuries. The exhibition is being held for the occasion of the 113th National Congress of the Italian Surgical Society. There are 27 manuscripts on display, including a papyrus fragment of Soranus’ treatise, and 7 printed works.
Most of the manuscripts are part of the Plutei, which represents the initial collection of the Medici family’s library. However, there are also works from the library’s other collections, such as the Ashburnham, Gaddi and D’Elci, which contain unique treasures.
Also on show are several original surgical instruments dating back to the second half of the 19th century, preserved in their original cases. The modern age is examined up to the Enlightenment, in particular with the tables on surgery from the Enciclopédie by Diderot and D’Alambert, and the texts of the Florentine physician Antonio Cocchi, an eclectic scientist and polymath.
Like the show, the catalogue documents key sources in the history of surgery from the classical age to the modern era. It is a journey that, for physicians and the general public alike, investigates the evolution of a technique and a science that, thanks to the efforts made throughout the centuries, perfected the treatment of human beings, often saving lives. The codices and printed volumes on display boast fascinating miniatures and illustrations that ‘photograph’ technical know-how, treatment practices and operations from antiquity to the Enlightenment.