Mercurialis, Jerome

, a learned and eminent physician, was born at Forli, in Romagna, Sept 30, 1530. He was educated according to Niceron at Padua, and according to Eloy at Bologna. It seems, however, agreed that he received his doctor’s degree in 1555, and began to practice at Forli. In 1562 he was sent as ambassador to pope Pius IV. at Rome, where he was honoured with the citizenship, and upon a pressing invitation determined to reside in a place which presented so many opportunities | for the pursuit of his favourite studies. During his abode at Rome, besides his professional concerns, he studied classical literature, and the monuments of antiquity, and produced a learned and elegant work, which acquired him much celebrity in the literary world, and which was first published at Venice in 1569, under the title of “De Arte Gymnastica Libri sex,” 4to. It was many times reprinted, and its merit occasioned his being appointed professor of medicine in the university of Padua. In 1573 he was called to Vienna by the emperor Maximilian II., to consult respecting a severe illness under which that personage laboured; and his treatment was so successful, that he returned loaded with valuable presents, and honoured with the dignities of a knight and count palatine. In 1587 he removed to a professorsip at Bologna, which has been partly attributed to a degree of dissatisfaction or self-accusation, in consequence of an error of judgment, which had been committed by him and Capivaccio, several years before, when they were called to Venice, in order to give their advice respecting a pestilential disorder which prevailed in that city. On this occasion both he and his colleague seem to have fallen into the mistake of several medical theorists, of denying the reality of contagion; and their counsels were said to have been productive of extensive mischief. Nevertheless his reputation appears to have suffered little from this error; for he was invited by Ferdinand, the grand duke of Tuscany, to settle at Pisa in 1599, where he was ordered a stipend of eighteen: hundred golden crowns, which was ultimately raised to two thousand. Here he died Nov. 9, 1606, and was interred, with great honours, in a chapel, which he had himself erected at Forli. He left a large property in money and effects, among which was a valuable collection of pictures; and he made a great number of charitable bequests.

Mercuriali was a voluminous writer, as the following catalogue of his works will evince. He was a learned commentator on Hippocrates, and edited a classified collection of his works. Like the learned of his age, however, he was bigotted to the doctrines of the ancients, and fond of hypothetical reasoning, to the disparagement of sound observation; and he strongly imbued his pupils with the same erroneous principles. His first publication was a tract entitled “Nomothesaurus, seu Ratio lactandi Infantes.” His second, the work “De Arte Gymnastica,| before-mentioned. 3. “Variarum Lectionum in Medicinse Scriptoribus et aliis, Libri iv.Venice, 1571. 4. “De Morbis Cutaneis, et omnibus corporis humani Excrementis,” ib. 1572. 5. “Tractatus de Maculis pestiferis et Hydrophobia,” Basle, 1577. 6. “De Pestilentia in universum, proesertim vero de Veneta et Patavina,Venice 1577. 7. “Hippocratis Opera Grsece et Latine,” ibid. 1578. 8. “De Morbis Muliebribus Praelectiones,” Basle, 1582. 9. “De Morbis puerorum Tractatus locupletissimi,Venice, 1583. 10. “De Venenis et Morbis venenosis,” ibid. 1584. 11. “De Decoratione liber,” ib. 1585. 12. “Consultationes et Responsa Medicinalia.” Four volumes were successively published in 1587, 1590, and 1597; and were republished together after his death. 13. “Tractatus de Compositione Medicamentorum, De Morbis oculorum et auriura,” ibid. 1590. 14. “De Hominis Generatione,1597. 15. “Commentarii in Hippoc. Coi Prognostica, Prorrhetica,” &c. ibid. 1597. 16. “Medicina Practica, seu, de cognoscendis, discernendis, et curandis omnibus humani corporis affectibus,” Francfort, 1602, folio. All these works have been several times reprinted, and some of them were selected after his death, and printed together, under the title of “Opuscula aurea et selectiora,Venice, 1644, folio. 1

1 Niceron, vol. XXVI. —Eloy, —Dict. Hist. de Medicine.—Moreri. —Rees’s Cyclopædia.