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The Cover
September 8, 1999

De medicina

JAMA. 1999;282(10):921. doi:10.1001/jama.282.10.921

Like the first-century BC Roman gentleman Marcus Terentius Varro (JAMA cover, September 1, 1999), his slightly younger contemporary Aulus Cornelius Celsus (fl 25 AD) wrote an encyclopedia. Entitled De artibus, it included treatises on agriculture, the military art, rhetoric, medicine, and possibly on philosophy and jurisprudence as well. Unfortunately, all of the encyclopedia has been lost except for the eight books on medicine known as De medicina. Still, they are gem enough, especially when one realizes that we have them today very likely only by chance. Thomas of Sazanne (later Pope Nicholas V) discovered the manuscript in Milan in the mid 15th century. Some 35 years later—less than 25 years after movable type had first appeared—De medicina was printed, one of the first works of medicine to be thus reproduced; the editio princeps (cover) appeared in Florence in 1478.

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