An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to Circa 2020 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

15426 entries, 13280 authors and 1897 subjects. Updated: October 20, 2021

LANCISI, Giovanni Maria

7 entries
  • 386

Anatomia per uso et intelligenza del disegno ricercata non solo su gl’ossi, e muscoli del corpo humano.

Rome: G. J. de Rossi, 1691.

Contains 56 copper-plates, excellent anatomically and artistically, with commentary by Giovanni Maria Lancisi. This is one of the finest of all books on anatomy for artists. English translation with plates re-engraved, London: Senex, [1723].

Subjects: ANATOMY › 17th Century, ANATOMY › Anatomical Illustration, ANATOMY › Anatomy for Artists, ART & Medicine & Biology
  • 2731

De subitaneis mortibus libri duo.

Rome: J. F. Buagni, 1707.

In the above work Lancisi noted cardiac hypertrophy and dilatation as causes of sudden death. He was the first to describe valvular vegetation, and his book gives a classification of the cardiac diseases then recognized. Lancisi’s work laid the foundation for a true understanding of cardiac pathology. There are three different states of the title page of this work, with no definite order of priority established. See P. Kligfield, "Survey of variant title page vignettes in Lancisi’s De subitaneis mortibus," J. Hist. Med. & all. Sci., 1983, 38, 336-39. English translation by P.D. White & AV. Boursy, New York, St. John’s University Press, [1971.]

  • 5232

De noxiis paludum effluviis, eorumque remediis.

Rome: typ. J. M. Salvioni, 1717.

Lancisi suggested that since malaria disappears after drainage it was due to some sort of poison emanating from marshes and possibly transmitted by mosquitoes. He planned a drainage scheme for marshy regions. His work included an early effort at medical cartography-- a map of the area between the gulfs of Astura and Terracina, south-southeast from Rome which identified twenty-six forested quarters ("quarti delle selve") and four ruined lands ("terre dirute").  The map also included directions of the major winds. Digital facsimile from the Internet Archive at this link.

Subjects: Cartography, Medical & Biological, EPIDEMIOLOGY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE › VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES › Mosquito-Borne Diseases › Malaria
  • 11515

Metallotheca opus posthumum, auctoritate, & munificentia Clementis undecimi pontificis maximi e tenebris in lucem eductum; opera autem, & studio Ioannis Mariae Lancisii archiatri pontificii illustratum.

Rome: ex officina Joannis Mariae Salvioni Romani in Archigymnasio Sapientiae, 1717.

In 1717 papal physician Giovanni Maria Lancisi published the catalogue of the Vatican "armaria" series housing the natural history museum collected by one of his predecessors at the Vatican, the 16th century papal physician Michele Mercati. The collection included Mercati's fossils, marbles, ores, shells, earth samples, salts, alums, gums and resins. Though it was published more than a century after Mercati's death, the Metallotheca remains the record of one of the earliest 16th century natural history museums. With papal sponsorship the work was published in a luxurious manner.

"Mercati collected curious objects - fossils, minerals and so on - as well as 'ceraunia' or 'thunderstones'. Mercati was particularly interested in Ceraunia cuneata, "wedge-shaped thunderstones," which seemed to him to be most like axes and arrowheads, which he now called ceraunia vulgaris, "folk thunderstones," distinguishing his view from the popular one.[1] Mercati examined the surfaces of the ceraunia and noted that the stones were of flint and that they had been chipped all over by another stone. By their shapes, Mercati deduced that the stones were intended to be hafted. He then showed the similarities between the 'ceraunia' and artifacts from the New World that explorers had identified as implements or weapons.[2]

"Mercati posited that these stone tools must have been used when metal was unknown and cited Biblical passages to prove that in Biblical times stone was the first material used. He also revived the Three-age system of Lucretius, which described a succession of periods based on the use of stone (and wood), bronze and iron respectively" (Wikipedia article on Michele Mercati, accessed 1-2020).

Subjects: EVOLUTION › Human Origins / Human Evolution, MUSEUMS › Natural History Museums / Wunderkammern
  • 71

Jo. Mariae Lancisii archiatri pontificii. Opera quae hactenus prodierunt omnia; dissertationibus nonnullis adhuc dum ineditis locupletata, & ab ipso auctore, recognita atque emendata. Collegit, ac in ordinem digessit Petrus Assaltus. 2 vols.

Geneva: sumptibus fratrum de Tournes, 1718.

Lancisi's collected works edited by Pietro Assalti. Lancisi was the first to describe cardiac syphilis; he was also notable as an epidemiologist, with a clear insight into the theory of contagion. He was physician to Pope Clement XI, who turned over to him the forgotten copper plates executed by Eustachius in 1552. Lancisi published these with his own notes in 1714. (See No. 391.) Note that Lancisi’s posthumous De aneurysmatibus published in 1728 (No. 2973) appears only in later collected editions. Digital facsimile from the Hathi Trust at this link.

Subjects: CARDIOLOGY, CARDIOLOGY › CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE › Cardiovascular Syphilis, Collected Works: Opera Omnia, EPIDEMIOLOGY
  • 2973

De motu cordis et aneurysmatibus.

Rome: J. M. Salvioni, 1728.

Lancisi noted the frequency of cardiac aneurysm and showed the importance of syphilis, asthma, palpitation, violent emotions, and excess as causes of aneurysms. He was the first to describe cardiovascular syphilis. Lancisi shares with Vieussens the honor of laying the foundation of the pathology of heart disease. Revision of 1745 edition of De aneurysmatibus, with translation and notes, by W. C. Wright, 1952.

  • 9845

Sudden death: Medicine and religion in eighteenth-century Rome.

London: Routledge, 2014.

"In 1705-1706, during the War of the Spanish Succession and two years after a devastating earthquake, an ’epidemic’ of mysterious sudden deaths terrorized Rome. In early modern society, a sudden death was perceived as a mala mors because it threatened the victim’s salvation by hindering repentance and last confession. Special masses were celebrated to implore God’s clemency and Pope Clement XI ordered his personal physician, Giovanni Maria Lancisi, to perform a series of dissections in the university anatomical theatre in order to discover the 'true causes' of the deadly events. It was the first investigation of this kind ever to take place for a condition which was not contagious. The book that Lancisi published on this topic, De subitaneis mortibus (’On Sudden Deaths’, 1707), is one of the earliest modern scientific investigations of death; it was not only an accomplished example of mechanical philosophy as applied to the life sciences in eighteenth-century Europe, but also heralded a new pathological anatomy (traditionally associated with Giambattista Morgagni). Moreover, Lancisi’s tract and the whole affair of the sudden deaths in Rome marked a significant break in the traditional attitude towards dying, introducing a more active approach that would later develop into the practice of resuscitation medicine. Sudden Death explores how a new scientific interpretation of death and a new attitude towards dying first came into being, breaking free from the Hippocratic tradition, which regarded death as the obvious limit of physician’s capacity, and leading the way to a belief in the 'conquest of death' by medicine which remains in force to this day" (publisher).

Subjects: CARDIOLOGY › History of Cardiology, COUNTRIES, CONTINENTS AND REGIONS › Italy, RELIGION & Medicine & the Life Sciences