Amatus, John Roderigo Amato

, a Portuguese physician, and medical writer, of Jewish origin, was born in 1511 at Castel-bianco. He studied medicine at Salamanca, and afterwards travelled through France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, and taught medicine with success in Ferrara and Ancona. His attachment to the Jewish persuasion having rendered him suspected by the catholics, he narrowly escaped the inquisition, by retiring to Pesaro in 1555, from which he removed to Itagusa, and afterwards to Thessalonica. From the year 1561 we hear no more of him, nor has the time or place of his death been ascertained, but it is said that when he went to Thessalonica, he avowed Judaism openly. His works, although few, give proofs of extensive learning in his profession. 1. “Exegemata in priores duos Dioscoridis de materia medica libros,Antwerp, 1536, 4to. The second edition greatly enlarged, with learned notes by Constantin, was published under the title “Enarrationes in Dioscoridem,Venice, 1553, 8vo, Strasburgh, 1554, and Lyons, 1557. There is much information in this work respecting exotics used in medicine, and some plants described for the first time, but it is not free from errors; and the author having imprudently attacked Mathiolus, the latter retorted on him in his “Apologia adversus Amatum,Venice, 1557, fol. declaring him an apostate and a Christian only in appearance; but what connexion this had with the errors in his book, is not so easy to discover. Amatus, however, intended to have answered him in the notes prepared for a complete edition of Dioscorides, which he did not live to publish. 2. “Curationum medicinalium centuriae septem,” published separately, and reprinted, at Florence, Venice, Ancona, Rome, Ragusa, Thessalonica, &c. In this work, are many useful facts and observations, but not entirely unmixed with cases which are thought to have been fictitious. Few books, however, were at one time more popular, for besides the separate editions of the Centuries, they were collected and published at Lyons, 1580, 12 mo, Paris, 1613, 1620, 4to, | and Francfort, 1646, fol. Amatus had also made some progress in a commentary on Avicenna, but lost his manuscripts in the hurry of his escape from Ancona, where pope Paul IV. had ordered him to be apprehended. Antonio in his Bibl. Hisp. attributes to him a Spanish translation of Eutropius, but it does not appear to have been ever published. 1


Biog. Universelle.—Astroe on the Venereal disease.—Manget, Bibl.—Haller Bibl. Med.—Moreri.