Show/hide main menu

individual collections

Incunabula at King's

Medieval woman with unicornThe Foyle Special Collections Library holds 17 incunabula, or books from the infancy of printing; the term is properly applied to works printed before 1501 and derives from the Latin term for swaddling clothes.

All are fully recorded on the Library catalogue

We have contributed to the Material Evidence in Incunabula project coordinated by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL) of which King's is a member. Full details of our incunabula appear on the project database, alongside those of thousands of other incunabula held by libraries around the world.

Our incunabula, orderd by date of publication:

Silius Italicus. Punica. Venice: Baptista de Tortis, 1483.
[Rare Books Collection FOL. PA6695.A2] ISTC 2nd edition: is00507000

Paulus Florentinus. Breviarium totius juris canonici, sive, Decretorum breviarum. Memmingen: Albrecht Kunne, 1486. [Rare Books Collection Z239.5 K9 A7] ISTC 2nd edition: ip00180000

Homer [Opera]. Greek. Florence: Bernardus Nerlius and Nerius Nerlius, 18 March 1487/88. [Rare Books Collection FOL. PA4018 A2] ISTC 2nd edition: ih00300000

Guglielmo da Saliceto. Summa conservationis et curationis. Venitiis imp[re]ssum: [Marinus Saracenus], [1489] [Guy's Hospital Medical Collection FOL. R127.5 DAS] ISTC 2nd edition: is00033000

The contributions of Guglielmo da Saliceto (1210-1276 or 7) to medicine were principally diagnostic. He recorded crepitus (the grating sensation when fractured surfaces rub together) as a sign of fracture, distinguished between arterial and venous bleeding and noted contralateral paralysis in skull wounds and the venereal origins of chancres and bubos.

In the days before Vesalius, when knowledge of human anatomy and physiology was sketchy, these conclusions cannot have been easy to reach.

Engraving of loving coupleFrancesco Petrarca. Trionfi, sonetti e canzoni . Venice: Petrus de
Plasiis Cremonensis, dictus Veronensis, 1490. [Rare Books Collection FOL. PQ4477.A3 V4] ISTC 2nd edition: ip00386000 

Hortus Sanitatis. Mainz: Jacob Meydenbach,1491. [St. Thomas's Hospital Medical Collection FOL. RS79 H67] ISTC 2nd edition: ih00486000

Pietro d'Argelata. Cirurgie Petri de la Cerlata. Venice: [s.n.], 1492. [Guy's Hospital Medical Collection FOL. R127.5] ISTC 2nd edition: ia00952000

Pietro d'Argelata (d 1423) was an Italian surgeon who taught surgery at Bologna. He was one of the first to use sutures (stitching) and drainage tubes, and was also a competent dentist, although this was fairly common, as dentistry was not a separate profession at this time.

He was the most distinguished pupil of Guy de Chauliac’s pupils: Guy de Chauliac (ca 1300-68) was the most eminent surgeon of his day.

John of Gaddesden. Rosa Anglica practica medicine a capita ad pedes. Pavia: Franciscus Girardengus and Joannes Antonius Birreta, 24 January 1492 . [St. Thomas's Hospital Medical Collection FOL. R127.5 GAD] ISTC 2nd edition: ij00326000

Engraved scene from Nuremberg ChronicleHartmann Schedel. Liber chronicarum. (2 copies)
Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 1493. [Rare Books Collection OVERSIZE D17 N91] ISTC 2nd edition: is00307000 

Engraving of Jacob's dream from Bible Bible. Low German. 1494. De Biblie mit vlitigher achtinghe ... Mit vorluchtinghe vnde glose des hochghelerden Postillatoers Nicolai de Lyra ... Lübeck: Steffen Arndes, 1494. [Marsden Collection R2/6] ISTC 2nd edition: ib00638000 

Aristotle. Eis organon Aristotelous. Venice: dexteritate Aldus Manutius, 1495-1498. [Rare Books Collection FOL. PA3890.A2 M2] ISTC 2nd edition: ia00959000

Thesaurus. Cornu copiae & Horti Adonidis. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1496. [Rare Books Collection FOL. PA253 T5] ISTC 2nd edition: it00158000

Apothecary's shop from Hortus sanitatis c1497Hortus sanitatis [Ortus sanitatis]. Strasbourg: Johann Prüss c.1497. [Rare Books Collection Harrod FOL. RS79 HOR] ISTC 2nd edition: ih00487000

Pietro d'Argelata. Cirurgia magistri Petri de Largelata. Venice: per Bonetus Locatellus, 22 February 1497. [KCSMD Historical Collection FOL. RD30.VIG] ISTC 2nd edition: ia00953000

Engraving of King Solomon from 1498 BibleBible. Latin. Vulgate. Biblia cum tabula nuper impressa [et] cum summariis nouiter editis. [Venice]: Simon Bevilaqua, 1498. [Rare Books Collection BS75 B4] ISTC 2nd edition: ib00603000

Guy, de Chauliac. Chirurgia Guidonis de Cauliaco : De balneis porectanis ... Venice: per Simonem de Luere, 1499. [Guy's Hospital Medical Collection FOL. R127.5 CHA]  ISTC 2nd edition: ig00559000

Guy de Chauliac (ca 1300-68) as mentioned above in the entry for Pietro d'Argelata, was the most eminent surgeon of his day. This book was written in 1363, and first printed in 1498.

His methods were comparatively advanced, and for this reason his expertise was much sought after by contemporary rulers, including three popes. He used this text to advocate new surgical techniques, including early excision of tumours, the treatment of fractures with slings and traction and operations for hernia and cataract.

The importance of this work is reflected in the number of extant copies of this 1499 printing alone. The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue lists 50. It is also reflected in the copious contemporary annotations in this copy.

Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions  Privacy policy  Accessibility  Modern slavery statement  Contact us

© 2019 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454