Lot 47
  • 47

Two treatises on horse medicine: Giordano Ruffo, De medicina equorum, and Benedetto Rubollo, Rimedi per cavalla, in Latin and Italian, manuscripts on vellum and paper [mid-fourteenth and late sixteenth century]

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vellum and Paper
two volumes: (a) Giordano Ruffo, De medicina equorum, followed by related notes from Vegetius, De Re Militari, 260mm. by 182mm., a fragment of 21 leaves on vellum (3 quires, the second beginning with a singleton but with no losses to text, wanting leaves from front and end, and a few between the first and second quire and a single leaf between the second and third), single column, 31 lines in two rounded gothic bookhands, capitals touched in yellow, rubrics in red, 2-line initials in red or blue with contrasting penwork, inscription inside front board recording gift of volume from one physician (Vincenzo Malacarne) to another (Giovanni Alessandro Brambilla of Pavia) in 1781/7, loose in nineteenth-century red paper over pasteboards, Italy, mid-fourteenth century; (b) Benedetto Rubollo, Rimedi per cavalla, 145mm. by 100mm., 88 leaves on paper, c.18 lines in a cursive hand, contemporary limp vellum binding, Italy, late sixteenth century; both in good condition

Catalogue Note

Giordano Ruffo was the son or nephew of the viceroy of Sicily, and was made the imperial farrier of Frederick II (emperor 1215-50). The text in item (a) was dedicated to the memory of Frederick, and was the cornerstone of medieval animal medicine and of the scientific study of horses. It is "essentially the product of Ruffo's personal experience and acute observation (certain passages, for example, suggest that he performed autopsies). Although he was of course ignorant of the circulation of the blood, he distinguished between veins and arteries, and he offered a method of differential diagnosis for cases of lameness" (Dict. of Scientific Biography, XI, 1975, p.601). Twenty-one manuscripts of the text are recorded by G. Beaujouan and others, Medecine humaine et veterinaire a la fin du moyen age, 1966, pp.17-18. All these are in public collections, mainly in France and Italy. The present leaves cover the care and teaching of horses, the bridling of horses, how to recognise favourable and healthy features of their physical appearance and their various infirmities and cures.