Leonhart (Leonhard) Fuchs

Leonhart (Leonhard) Fuchs


Methodus seu ratio compendiaria perueniendi ad veram solidamque medicinam, mirifice ad Galeni libros recte intelligendos utilis, nunc recens in lucem aedita, Leonharto Fuchsio (1543).

Freely translated the title of the volume is

Translated in essence this is "Compendium of Current Medical Knowledge, Treatment and Medicinal Preparations also Containing Corrected Errors of Galen, Clearly Edited by Leonhart Fuchs" 1543.

Leonhart Fuchs is a German physician and botanist, author of one of the most celebrated book on plants and their medicinal value. Fuchs was born in Wemding, Germany (Bavaria), the son and grandson of the Burgmeister (Mayor) of Wemding. The youngest of three children, after his father died when Leonhart was four, his paternal grandfather raised him introducing him to plants during their walks in the forest. A precocious child, he completed his studies in Erfurt (1517), Ingolstadt (1521) and eventually in Tubingen (1524), obtaining first a Bachelor of Art (Baccalaureus atrium) and subsequently a doctoral degree in medicine. His interest in plants and their medicinal use led him to research and practice in several cities, attracting attention and eventually leading to a professorship (University of Ingolstadt and University of Tubingen) and rector at University of Tubingen (1536 and 1540). He was one of the first to establish a medicinal garden at the university. Altogether, he spent 31 years at University of Tubingen. He died in the same city in 1566.

Fuchs is best known for his comprehensive and artistically extraordinary compilation of plants. In 1542, Fuchs published De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes – Notable commentaries on the history of plants. The book was a huge success, especially because of the superb woodcuts and the 487 plants that were described for the first time in such a systematic fashion. De Historia Stirpium had seen several editions and, the very next year in 1543 it was translated into Dutch and German.

The book in our collection is less famous, but equally important. This is one of Fuchs’ medical textbook entitled Compenidaria, first published in 1531. The volume in our collection is an enlarged 1543 edition. It is a summary of medical knowledge that Fuchs was extremely adept at organizing and systematizing.

Editorial notes by Andrew I Spielman.

Digital Version

Leonhart (Leonhard) Fuchs >>>