Hippocrates 1526 title-page

Hippocrates 1526 title-page.

The Aldine Greek Opera Omnia of Hippocrates in many ways was a companion volume to the Aldine Galen, whose first volume had been published just one year before. As Cantor (2002) reminds us, though some Hippocratic treatises had been disseminated separately in the Middle Ages, much of what was known of Hippocrates in late fifteenth and early sixteenth century was known through the prism of Galen. The Aldine Galen did much to encourage scholarly investigation of Hippocrates, an investigation which would eventually lead to a fracturing of that galenical prism.

Gian Francesco Torresani to the reader.

Hippocrates 1526 Gian Francesco Torresani to the reader.

In his preface to the reader Gian Francesco was at pains to emphasize the care which he had taken with the edition of the works of Hippocrates. It was no easy exercise for the publishing of an editio princeps of such a major work necessitated the location and collation of as many primary sources as possible. First and foremost was the task of disentangling what was a true Hippocratic work and what had been mistakenly ascribed to him. The Aldine Hippocrates couldn’t claim to be the first full edition of Hippocrates – his Opera omnia had been published in Latin translation by Marcus Fabius Calvus in 1525, just one year before – but it was the first collected works of Hippocrates in the original Greek.

Hippocrates 1526 annotated index.

Hippocrates 1526 annotated index.

Prior to this, texts by Hippocrates had been made available in either single publications (such as the 1481 Roman edition by Andrea Brenta of De insomniis), or as part of a compendium of medical authors (such as the Venetian 1483 edition printed by Hermann Lichtenstein). The chief claim of such editions as the Roman 1525 Latin edition or the Aldine 1526 Greek edition was that they brought together all the recognized works by a particular author in a carefully edited whole, based on the earliest available manuscripts. Potter (1998) points to the various manuscripts which formed the bedrock of the Aldine Hippocrates. Undoubtedly the most important was Parisinus Gr. 2141 but additional material was also available to Gian Francesco: Bodleian Holkhamensis 92, which contained material from a number of Hippocratic tracts and Parisinus Gr. 2253 which contained the Use of Liquids and the Coan Prenotions. In addition to these, Fortuna (2007) points to the use of Parisinus Gr. 2161 as printer’s copy for the Aldine edition.


Cantor David (2002), Reinventing Hippocrates (Aldershot: Ashgate).

Fortuna, Stefania (2007), ‘The Prefaces to the First Humanist Medical Translations’, Traditio 62, pp. 317-335.

Jackson, Donald G. (2012), ‘Greek Medicine in the Fifteenth Century’, Early Science and Medicine 17, pp. 378-390.

Koźluk, Magdalena and Pittion, Jean Paul (2007), Editing Galen and Hippocrates in the Renaissance. An Exhibition of Sixteenth-Century Editions in the Library of Edward Worth (1678-1733) (Dublin: Trustees of the Edward Worth Library).

Potter, Paul (1998), ‘The editiones principes of Galen and Hippocrates and Their Relationship’, in Fischer, Klaus-Dietrick, Nickel, Diethard and Potter, Paul (eds), Text and Transmission: Studies in Ancient Medicine and its Transmission Presented to Jutta Kollesch (Leiden), pp. 243-61.

Touwaide, Alain (2012), ‘Printing Greek Medicine in the Renaissance. Scholars, Collections, Opportunities, and Challenges. Introduction.’, Early Science and Medicine 17, pp. 371-377.