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Gaspare Tagliacozzi, Cheirurgia nova (Frankfurt: Johannes Saur, 1598)

This work, a reprint of the first book exclusively devoted to plastic surgery and particularly nasal reconstruction, was written by Gaspare Tagliacozzi (1545-1599) of Bologna, in response to the number of facial injuries caused by dueling and other forms of combat, as well as syphilis. His work covers the anatomy of the nose and includes sections on the restoration of the nose, lips, and ears by means of grafting skin, mainly from the upper arm.

Berthold Purstinger, Onus ecclesiae (Koln: Johann Quentel, 1531).

As the protestant reformers busied themselves attacking the papacy and the sale of indulgences, many who stayed within the Catholic fold realised that something needed to be done to rejuvenate the church and stop it disintegrating. One such was Berthold Purstinger of Chiemsee, who produced various defences of the Catholic Church against Lutheranism. The work pictured here, however, was a critique of the Catholic Church.

Konstantinos Hermoniakos' paraphrase of The Iliad (Venice: Stefano de Sabio, 1526).

The Greek alphabet first appeared in print in Latin texts which incorporated Ancient Greek quotations, from 1465 onwards. Over time, however, from the first setting down of the Homeric epics to the beginning of the modern era, the Greek language had undergone many changes, enough to make the publication of this translation from ancient to modern forms viable. It is based on a 14th-century paraphrase of the ancient text by Konstantinos Hermoniakos, who was working in one of the fragments of the Byzantine Empire left after the Fourth Crusade.

Heinrich Stromer, Algorithmus linealis (Leipzig: Jakob Thanner, 1517).

This text is one of a number of early treatises on the use of the abacus printed around the turn of the 15th century. The woodcut diagrams represent counters on the lines of an abacus, and the whole treatise covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and topics in arithmetic.

Donated by Richard Pendlebury.

Thomas More's Utopia (1516) and Epigrammata (1520)

Knighted in 1521, More rose to become Lord Chancellor before being executed for high treason in 1535. He is a saint to the Catholic and a predecessor of Marx to the Communist.

Polyglot Psalter (Genoa: Petrus Paulus Porro, 1516).

This edition of the Book of Psalms was the first polyglot printing of any part of the Bible. Polyglots allowed scholars to compare the various versions of the scriptures by arranging them in parallel columns, and developed from the traditions of Jewish scholars. In this volume the text is in seven columns: Hebrew, a Latin translation of the Hebrew, the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint, Arabic, Aramaic, and a Latin translation of the Aramaic.

The Complutensian Bible (Alcala de Henares: Arnaldo Guillen de Brocar, 1514-17).

One of two variants of the Complutensian or Ximenes Bible held by the Library. This was the first polyglot edition of the Bible printed so that scholars could compare the various translations. Editing began in 1502 under the supervision of Cardinal Ximenes, primate of Spain, confessor to Queen Isabella, Grand Inquisitor, and critic of Columbus's treatment of the native Americans, "to revive the hitherto dormant study of the Scriptures", but wasn't completed for many years.

Francis Sandford, The history of the coronation of the most high, most mighty, and most excellent monarch, James II (London, 1687).

The coronation feast, complete with spectators, and a detail of a long-suffering parader carrying the kettledrums, in Francis Sandford's book detailing James II's accession, produced two years after the event, and one year before James was removed from the throne by the "Glorious" Revolution. The sumptuous illustrations also show the regalia worn, plans of all the buildings involved, and fireworks on the Thames.

Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, The history of the bucaniers (London, 1684).

Exquemelin had hands-on experience of life as a privateer, having retired from the profession in 1672. Originating in Normandy, he had been sold into slavery on the sugar plantations, but after suffering beatings and starvation, escaped to make his fortune on the high seas. He had this memoir first printed in Dutch in 1676, although as he was not a professional writer the publisher added an extra chapter and abridged the original French manuscript to make it more palatable to the reading public of Holland.

John Seller, Atlas caelestis (London, 1677)

John Seller was hydrographer to Charles II and James II and produced a prolific output of maps, charts and geographical and nautical publications, being granted a monopoly for the former for thirty years. This work contains fifty-five plates all of which are brightly hand-coloured in this copy. The plates shown here portray the sun, the moon, and various comets.

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