Matthiolus, Peter Andrew

, an eminent physician, and medical botanist, and the son of a physician, was born at Sienna, in Tuscany, in 1501; and educated first at Venice; and afterwards at Padua. The law was his original destination, which he exchanged for the study of medicine, and having obtained his degree at | Padua, returned to Sienna, where he speedily acquired extensive practice. For some reasons, however, he varied his places of abode, and practised at Home, at Anania, and at Gorizia, where, as well as at Anania, he was extremely beloved, of which he had here a singular proof: a fire having consumed all his furniture, the people flocked to him the next day, with presents of goods and money, that made him richer than before, and the magistrates advanced him a year’s salary. After a residence of twelve years at Gorizia, he accepted an invitation from Ferdinand, king of the Romans, to take the office of physician to his son, the archduke Ferdinand. He was greatly honoured at the imperial court, and in 1562 was created aulic-counsellor to the emperor Ferdinand. Afterwards Maximilian II. prevailed upon his brother to part with him, and made him his first physician. Finding, however, the weight of age pressing upon him, Matthiolus took leave of the court, and retired to a life of repose at Trent, where he soon after died of the plague, in 1577.

He left several works: 1. “Dialogns de Morbi Gallici curatione,” printed in the collection of Luisinus. 2. “Apologia versus Amatum Lusitanum,Venice, in 1558. $. “Epistolarum Medicinalium, Libri V.Prague, 1561. 4-. “Disputatio adversus viginti Problemata Melchioris Guilandi,” Ven. 1563. 5. “Opuscula de Simplicium Medicamentorum Facultatibus secundum genera et loca,” ibid. 1569; which is a compendium of vegetable materia medica. His “Epistolse” also relate chiefly to the virtues of plants, and their mode of exhibition.

The great work, however, by which this physician acquired his fame and honour, was his commentary on the writings of Dioscorides, printed at Venice in 1548, in the Italian language, and soon twice reprinted. He afterwards published it in the Latin language, and with the addition of small cuts, in 1554, with the title of “Commentarii in sex Libros P. Dioscoridis,” &c. Numerous editions, in Latin, enlarged and improved, were afterwards given; and the work was also many times reprinted in Italian, and in French and German translations by different persons. The best edition is that of Venice, 1565, folio, with large plates. This work, with all its imperfections, must be allowed to have contributed much to lay the foundation of botanical science; but, as Eloy remarks, the multitude of editions and versions of it eviuces the penury of the age in | botanical books. An edition of all his works was published by Caspar Bauhin, with the addition of more than three hundred figures, at Basle, in 1598, folio, which was reprinted in 1674. 1


Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medicine. Rees’s Cyclopædia. —Haller Bibl. Bot. —Dict. Hist.