Catalogue Number: 1105
Ophthalmodouleia. That is in the service of the eyes
Sub-Category: Hewett collection
Author: BARTISCH George (Translated by Donald L Blanchard)
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1996 First published 1583
Edition: English translation
Time Period: 18th C and earlier
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Ostend
Publisher/Manufacturer: Verlag J P Wayenborgh
Description Of Item: White colour printed wrapper, brown cloth cover with gold embossed title, 273 numbered pages, preceded by an introduction by Daniel M Albert , a coloured title page, a coloured frontispiece of the coat of arms of the Duke of Saxony and a translation of the original foreword, testimonials and a prayer. Numerous illustrations some in colour and some with mutliple overlays to reveal anatomy. The main text is followed by a joyful song of thanks to God, an index, a printers coloured plate, a translators afterword and a bibliography.
Historical Significance: Georg Bartisch (1535 1606) was apprenticed to a barber surgeon as a 13 year old boy. He took a particular interest in diseases of the eye. He wrote this book in his 40s, doing the illustrations himself. It was printed by Matthes Stockel of Dresden in 1583. His book was widely read by physicians and its very existence suggested that it might be possible to make a career out of "the service of the eyes." In 1588, at the age of 53, Bartisch was appointed court oculist to the Elector of Saxony. Bartisch based his methods of eye care on trying to understand the anatomy, physiology, and optics of the eye. His anatomical plates are famous for flaps that can be lifted to reveal the next layer. He distinguished different kinds of cataract according to their color. He described cataract couching and its complications, and several different kinds of eyelid surgery. He recommended masks for the correction of misaligned eyes. Bartisch was not fond of the new fashion of using spectacles, he could not imagine how an eye that was already seeing poorly could ever see better when something was placed in front of it. It was not until Johannes Kepler (1571 to 1630) showed that the retina was the percipient surface, and the lens and cornea were the refracting media, the eye was conceded to be an optical instrument, and use of glasses became appreciated. The original book was artfully printed and beautifully illustrated with about 90 full page woodcuts many of which are reproduced in this translation.
How Acquired: Purchased by Nathan Library
Date Acquired: 2008
Location: Nathan Library. Hewett collection