[...] Nova auris internae delineatio

Autore: FOLLI, Cecilio (1614-1682)

Tipografo: Giovanni Antonio Giuliani

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 1645

4to. [4] leaves. Collation: A4. Printer's device on title page (an eagle with spread wings above a vase containing three lilies supported by a hand coming out of the clouds, in a figurative frame). Woodcut initial and headpiece. On l. A3r full-page engraving by Giacomo Pecini (c. 1617-1669) containing six numbered figures. Some light foxing, traces of folding as the pamphlet was presumably sent as a letter, a very good, wide-margined copy.


EXCEEDINGLY RARE ORIGINAL EDITION (first issue) of the most accurate description of the ear up to its time.

The work, sent as a letter - the dedication is dated Venice, May 10, 1645 - to the a Danish physician, mathematician, and theologian Thomas Bartholin (1616-1680), became immediately sought-after and rare. Its fame and importance are due to the engraved plate containing six figures that offer an extremely accurate and analytical description of the middle and inner ear. Folli describes some structures of the hearing organ never previously observed and, among the many remarkable morphological details showed in the plate and described in the pamphlet, of particular importance is the depiction in figure 2 (Figura Secunda) of the long process of the malleus, also called “Folli or Follian process”, that is a slender spur running anteriorly from the neck of the malleus toward the membrane of the tympanum. Folli also identifies the lenticular process of the anvil which he calls “os globulus”, whose discovery is attributed to S. de Le Boë. However, Folli mistakenly considers it as an independent bone. Figure 3 (Figura Tertia) gives “the first illustration of the so-called fourth ossicle (stapedis, osseus globulus); it appears to be an extension of the head of the stapes to which it is attached” (C.D. O'Malley & Edwin Clarke, The discovery of the auditory ossicles, in: “Bulletin of the history of medicine”, September-October 1961, vol. 35, no. 5, p. 441 and fig. 5).

The fact that the work is addressed to Bartholin is a clear indication of the esteem and friendship that existed between the two; Folli went often to Padua, where Bartholin resided, both to discuss with him the development of his research and to make practical demonstrations of anatomy. In Bartholin's correspondence (Epistolarium medicinalium a doctis vel ad doctos scriptarum centuriae, Hagae Comitum, 1740, cent. I, epist. LXXII, p. 251), besides the Nova auris there is another letter written by Folli, dated 4 November 1644 and titled Observationes quaedam anatomicae, which contains several anatomical observations on the skin, peritoneum, cardiac ventricular ulcerations, and intestinal worms. Bartholin also contributed to the circulation of the Nova auris internae delineatio as is shown in the copy now preserved at the Augsburg State Library which bears his dedication to the German physician Lucas Schrockius (Lucas von Schröck, 1620-1689).

“Caecilius Folius […] is known to have written three works, but the single one of these which brought him such renown as he ever enjoyed was his ‘New Delineation of the Internal Ear,' an opuscule of six fairly well executed plates with a brief explanatory text for each, and said to have been the most nearly accurate description of the inner ear up to its time. More than a hundred years later Antoine Portal said of it, ‘This is the manner in which judicious and perspicuous spirits know how to describe in a few words the most complicated objects and how to explain the most interesting discoveries. If everyone had followed the method of Folius there would be fewer books but just as much positive knowledge. It has been said that Vesling used Folius' drawings and description in his own Syntagma Anatomicum, published from Padua in 1641, a date at which Folius would be twenty-six years of age. But Vesling nowhere acknowledged any debt, and the name of Folius is conspicuously absent from the rather long list of anatomists mentioned in Vesling's Syntagma” (G. Kasten Tallmadge, Caecilius Folius on the circulation, in: “Bulletin of the history of medicine”, January-February 1954, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 15-16).


The book was reprinted a century later, in 1745, to commemorate its first publication by the Venetian primary physician Giambattista Paitoni, and then again in Göttingen in 1749 (Disputationum anatomicarum selectarum, Abram Vandenhoeck, 1749, vol. 4, pp. 365-368).

Paitoni was a bibliophile and book-collector. In 1745, on the occasion of the centenary of the publication of the Nova auris internae delineatio, he entrusted a Venetian typographer to issue a facsimile reprint of the pamphlet, with a note, printed on title-page verso, which says: “Hoc rarissimum opusculum recusum est Venetiis in usum Jo: Baptistae Paitoni juxta autoris editionem, Dominico Burgo typographo MDCCXLV”. A couple of years after Paitoni's death, his exceptional medical library was auctioned in London by the bookseller James Robson, who gave a detailed description of it in a printed catalog, calling it “one of the finest [libraries] ever offered to public sale” (Bibliotheca Paitoniana: a catalogue of the truly-valuable and justly celebrated library of the late eminent Sig. Jo. Bapt. Paitoni, M.D. [...], London, 1790).

The Italian Union Catalogue lists 7 copies of the Nova auris internae delineatio, but likely only 6 of them are truly belonging to one of the two variant issues of the original edition and not to the 1745 reprint. ICCU confusingly mentions three different issues of the first edition, mistakenly confusing the two issues of the original edition with the Paitoni's reprint, which was entirely reset (including the plate which was recast as some minimal variants show) and has a different printer's device on the title page, depicting a woman symbolizing the Concordia.

This is certainly the case of the vellum copy recorded in the Italian Union Catalogue among the copies of the 1645 edition and preserved in Venice at the Marciana Library (MEMBR. 0052), which, even though it doesn't have the aforementioned note on title-page verso, does not belong typographically to either issues of the original edition, and is rather to be considered as part of Paitoni's celebratory initiative.

The two variants of the 1645 edition have a different fingerprint and a different version of the printer's device with the eagle and the vase with the lilies described above. Our copy certainly corresponds to issue A with the larger version of the eagle/vase device on the title page.

OCLC records only one copy in the US at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda. It would be interesting and useful to check how many copies of this extremely rare pamphlet listed in public libraries worldwide are actually belonging to the 1645 original edition and are not the 1745 or a later reprint.


Cecilio Folli (also known as Folius, Follius, Fuoli) was born into a wealthy family in Fanano near Modena on August 1, 1614. His father, the son of the doctor Bartolomeo, was captain of the Venetian Republic and died shortly after Cecilio's birth in the war of Gradisca (1616-1617). Cecilio was entrusted to the care of his paternal uncle Giambattista, an illustrious Venetian doctor and primary physician of the Venetian Republic, who raised him and provided for his scientific education.

The spread of the plague that struck Venice in the summer of 1630 contributed to push the young Cecilio to embrace the medical studies. In opposition to most doctors, Cecilio's uncle Giambattista, together with G. degli Aromatari, fought to affirm the contagious nature of the disease and the necessity of implementing severe measures in order to circumscribe the epidemic, attracting upon himself the hostility of the College of Doctors. Cecilio, although still very young, took an active part in the story, assisting his uncle and later, under his guidance, addressing to the Magistrate of Health an accurate report on the spread and severity of the contagion: Vero racconto di tutto quello è occorso l'anno 1630 nel contagio pestilente che disertò l'inclita città di Venezia (‘True account of all what happened in 1630 during the plague that decimated the illustrious city of Venice', Venice, Biblioteca Civica Museo Correr, cod. Cicogna 1509).

Cecilio later moved to Padua, where he had the opportunity to attend J. Vesling's lessons and where he graduated in philosophy and medicine, showing a major interest in anatomical and physiological investigations. Back to Venice, he immediately gained notoriety and on August 27, 1636 he was elected public anatomist. In 1639, at the age of 25, he published in Venice his first work, a treatise on blood circulation (Sanguinis a dextro in sinistrum cordis ventriculum defluentisfacilis reperta via, cui non vulgaris in lacteas nuper patefactas venas animadversio praeponitur) dedicated to the Doge Francesco Erizzo. In this book, as in his subsequent publication Discorso anatomico, nel quale si contiene una nuova opinione circa la generatione, et uso della pinguedine, con altri principij Hippocratici (Venice, 1644), Folli states that he was the first to demonstrate in a public anatomy session the presence of lacteal vessels in human corpses, which Gaspare Aselli had described by exclusively dissecting animals.

After the publication of these works, as well as of the Nova auris internae delineatio, Folli's fame spread further and on April 11, 1650 he took the place of his uncle Giambattista as primary physician in Venice. A member of the priory of the College of Doctors since 1638, in the years 1652 and 1671 he was appointed its prior.

Using his personal prestige, Folli promoted the construction in Venice of an anatomical theater on the model of that of Padua. He conceived its architecture and worked closely with T. Zuccati and F. Bernardi so that the work could be completed in the shortest possible time and in the best possible way. The theater was inaugurated on February 2, 1671, but on January 8, 1800 it was devastated by a fire and with it also the library and the archives were destroyed.

Besides his public assignments, Folli also treated many private clients and, most probably, it was this intense practical activity that did not allow him to complete many of his scientific studies.

In addition to the admiration of Bartholin who, in the preface to the Anatomical institutions of his father Caspar, quotes him among the most famous anatomists in Europe, Folli enjoyed the esteem and friendship of many contemporary scholars and with many of them he exchanged letters on specific topics related to medical research.

In the fire of the anatomical theater was also destroyed a memorial bust which dated Folli's death to 1682. This date appears to be confirmed by other documents, even though it is not clear whether he died in Venice or elsewhere. His health condition had started to deteriorate the year before and he had been forced to reduce his activities and entrust his pupil I. Grandi with many of them (cf. A. Pagano, FolliCecilio, in: “Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani”, XLVIII, 1997, s.v.).


G. Tiraboschi, Biblioteca modenese, Modena, 1782, II, pp. 315; P. Di Pietro, Cecilio Folli di Fanano anatomico del secolo XVI, in: “Minerva medica”, XLIII, 1952, p. 660; A.B. Bosatra, La Nova auris intemae delineatio di Cecilio Folli, in: “Acta medicae historiae Patavina”, I, 1954-55, pp. 1-16 (includes a facsimile of the 1645 edition); M. Portal, Histoire de l'anatomie et de la chirurgie, Paris, 1770, II, pp. 548-552; Italian Union Catalog, IT\ICCU\MILE\022684; Garrison-Morton, 1542; C. Folli, Caecilii Folii equitis nova auris internae delineatio, Padua, Clinica Otologica dell'Università di Padova, 1970 (photographic reprint of the first edition); S. Minuzzi, Sul filo dei segreti. Farmacopea, libri e pratiche terapeutiche a Venezia in età moderna, Milan, 2016, p. 191.


(bound with:)

CIMA, Francesco (1633-?)-MOLINETTI, Antonio ed. (1620-1675). Exercitationis medicae de recta acceptione arthritidis, & podagrae ab excellentissimo Antonio Molinetto Patavini Lycaei anatomico, & theorico editae. Examen Francisci Cimae medici Veneti. Venice, ex typographia Leniana, 1662.

4to. 28 pp. Collation: A-B4 C6. Woodcut ornament on title page. Small hole to the lower inner margin of the first quire not affecting the text, a fine copy.

Extremely rare first and only edition (no copy recorded in US libraries) of this account of a medical case concerning a 36-year-old noble German lady (matrona) affected by arthritis and podagra. The young physician Francesco Cima attended the controversy arisen by the case between his mentor Raimondo Giovanni Fortis (1603-1678) on one side and count Girolamo Frigimelica and Antonio Molinetti on the other side. The text, edited by Molinetti, contains the two medical consultations and Cima's considerations on the case.

Nothing is known about the life and work of Francesco Cima. Antonio Molinetti was born in Venice in 1620. After graduating from the University of Padua, he returned to Venice, where he distinguished himself in medical practice and anatomical dissections. This talent enabled him to obtain in 1649 the chair of anatomy and surgery at the University of Padua, succeeding Johann Vesling, and from 1661 also the chair of theoretical medicine, which was vacant after the death, in 1657, of Fortunio Liceti. Molinetti's fame grew rapidly, both in Italy and abroad. The Duke of Bavaria and the Duke of Parma asked for his services. Molinetti's only publication is the Dissertationes anatomicae, et pathologicae de sensibus, & eorum organis (Padua, 1669).



PATIN, Charles (1633-1693). De febribus oratio, habita in Archi-Lycaeo Patavino, die 4. Nov. 1677. A Carolo Patino Doctore Medico Parisiensi Medicinam Praticam Interpretante. Padua, Pietro Maria Frambotto, 1677.

4to. [4] leaves. Collation A4. Engraved coat-of-arms on title page. A fine copy on thick paper.

Rare first and only edition of this oration on fever dedicated to Leonardo Pesaro and read by the author, on November 4, 1677, in front of the medical faculty of the University of Padua.



CIMA, Francesco (1633-?). Vindicata veritas a Francisco Cima medico veneto in epistolam admonitoriam nomine cuiusdam Baijer typis mandatam. Venice, ex typographia Leniana, 1663.

4to. [8], 41, [3] pp. Collation: [π]4 A-D4 E6. Satirical engraved vignette on title page. Woodcut initials and headpieces. A fine copy.

Extremely rare first and only edition (no copy in US libraries) of this polemic work written in response to the Epistola admonitoria ad Franciscum Cimam medicum venetum (Padua, 1662) by the physician Johann Michael Bayer, who attacked Cima's Exercitationis medicae de recta acceptione arthritidis, & podagrae (see above).

In the pamphlet Cima defines himself ironically as a trigenarius puer (30-yeard-old boy) as his accuser tried to discredit him for his young age and inexperience. He also states that he was pushed to reply to Epistola admonitoria by Fortis and Molinetti themselves.



Four works in one volume (216x164 mm). Contemporary boards, label with manuscript title on spine, the letter “C” on the front panel and an inked-out note on the back panel, original flyleaves preserved (back panel stained and with a worm track). On the back pastedown manuscript note “numo. 5. fogli no. 12÷”. Folli is bound as number 2 in the miscellany.