Dedication, 1572-07-07, Thomas Erastus to Ludwig, Herzog von Württemberg

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
Author: Thomas Erastus
Recipient: Ludwig, Herzog von Württemberg
Type: Dedication
Date: 7 July 1572
Place: Heidelberg
Pages: 4
Language: Latin
Quote as:
Editor: Edited by Julian Paulus
Thomas Erastus, Disputationum de medicina nova Philippi Paracelsi pars tertia, Basel: Pietro Perna 1572, sig. ):(2r–):(3v [BP.Erastus.1572-01]
Abstract: Thomas Erastus criticizes the Paracelsian method of healing. Erastus views it as a plague that has permeated all levels of society, bringing harm and evil. Despite its absurdity and impiety, he laments its acceptance by the learned. He praises Ludwig for his love of piety and good literature, and his protection against this medical plague. Erastus presents this critique as a defense of truth, refuting the Paracelsian lies and asserting the art of medicine. He ends with the hope that Ludwig will eliminate these 'pests of human life' from his court and dominion. (generated by Chat-GPT)
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[sig. ):(2r] Illvstrissimo Principi, ac Domino, D[omino] Lvdovico Dvci Vvirtenbergensi & Teckensi, Comiti Montis Pelegardi, &c. Domino suo Clementissimo

Qvantvm damni ac mali Germaniæ nostræ attulerit noua Paracelsi ratio medicandi, seu potius carnificinam exercendi, Princeps Illustrißime & Clementißime, satis apertè sentire ac videre incipiunt homines non vecordes, aut propriæ salutis non omnino negligentes. Quippe non se continuit hæc pestis intra vulgares, & nullius conditionis homines, sed in diuitum domos irrepsit, in nobilium & Comitum habitationes inuasit, adeoq́ue ad Principum usque aulas & palatia conscendit. Ego sanê cùm de hac secta primùm audirem, librosq́ue authoris ipsius legere cœpißem, ridendam potius, quàm argumentis refellendam existimaui. Tam sunt enim absurda, monstrosa, inepta, & ab omni tum pietate tum veritate remota, quæ fanaticus præceptor fanaticos docuit discipulos, vt in animum inducere tunc non potuerim, intelligentem et doctum aliquem probaturum. Postquam deinde præ spem & expectationem aduerti nonnullos ex illis, qui in aliqua erant opinione doctrinæ, non tantùm aures præbere, sed inuentorem & authorem tantorum deliramentorum laudare, doctrinæ vel tacitè, vel palàm astipulari, diligentius rimanda mihi omnia putaui, ecquid boni in re noua inueni- [sig. ):(2v] re poßem. Cæterùm quantò maiore diligentia & studio singula obseruo, examino, perpendo, tantò absurdiora apparent omnia. Equidem non arti Medicæ duntaxat iniurium fuiße comperio nouum nouæ sectæ conditorem, verùm etiam philosophiam & bonas artes cunctas euertere, pietatemq́ue simul omnem funditus extirpare conatum deprehendo. Quocirca viris doctrina & virtute clarißimis hortantibus (quibus aliquid in me virium eße visum est) Reipublicæ causa veritatis defensionem contra furores Paracelsicos libenter suscepi. Et in prima quidem parte immanem impietatem eius patefeci, & improbam sceleratamq́ue audaciam pro viribus retudi. In altera principia eius falsa & pietati repugnantia euerti, veramq́ue philosophiam à mendacijs Paracelsicis vindicaui. In hac tertia artem Medicam omnium à Deo nobis traditarum artium castißimam, & maximè tum vtilem tum neceßariam asserere conatus sum. Et cùm hanc sectam cum alijs omnibus, tum maximè diuitibus & Principibus exitiosam perspexissem, Principibus nuncupare disputationes nostras placuit, quò ab hac peste sibi studiosius cauerent. Sanè pharmacis vti se iactitant, multo labore, tempore, sumtu, & ex preciosis rebus præparatis: quæ quia à tenuioris fortunæ hominibus emi nequeunt, omnibus modis in opulentiorum ac Principum familias insinuare sese tentant. Non nescio quot illustres viros quidam ex hoc grege, magna prius accepta pro datis venenatis medicaminibus pecunia, flagitiosè, at impunè tamen confecerint. Cæterùm vt [sig. ):(3r] tuæ Celsitudini hanc partem potißimùm consecrarem, duæ me causæ præcipuè permouerunt. Prior est studium pietatis cum amore insigni erga bonas literas & honestas artes Principe dignas coniunctum. Quod etsi commune tibi est cum alijs, ita nihilominus in utroque es à teneris annis institutus, vt tanquam proprium tibi tribuere poßimus: aut saltem amplißima & optima quæque de tua Celsitudine meritò sperare cogamur. Hoc verò proprium iam est, aut certè cum non multis commune, quòd pestis hæc in aulam tuam, parentisque tui Principis longè sapientißimi penetrare nunquam potuit: quod quidem cognoscere potuerim. Facit hæc res, vt certò mihi persuaserim, me tuæ Celsitudini rem minimè ingratam facturum, si hæc ipsa, quæ prædicabilia omnino sunt, vnà cum alijs tuis virtutibus prædicem. Nec metuo, vt me falsi quisquam coarguat, dum viros præstantißimos tuæ Celsitudinis Medicos, Dominum Iohannem Kulmannum, virum doctrina & experientia clarißimum, & Dominum Paulum Constantinum Phrygionem, cùm in alijs operibus medicis, tùm in Anatomicis egregiè versatum, testes habeo locupletißimos. quare non hoc tuam Celsitud[inem] huius libri dedicatione monere volo, vt ex aula tua pietatis pariter & vitæ bonorum hostes Paracelsicos exturbes, quos nunquam ingressos eße scimus: sed multò magis testatum hoc meo facto facere studui quantò sis hac in parte felicior compluribus alijs. Nec dubito quicquam, quin sis operam daturus, vt ex aula tua pariter & imperio, tanquam humanæ vitæ [sig. ):(3v] pestes eliminentur. Deus opt[imus] max[imus] tuam Celsit[udinem] Ecclesiæ ac Reipub[licae] singulare ornamentum conseruet. Amen Heidelbergæ, ipsis Non[is] Iulij, Anno M. D.LXXII.

Tuæ Celsit[udinis] Obseruantiß[imus]

Thomas Erastus.



English Raw Translation

Generated by ChatGPT-4 on 16 July 2023. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.

To the Most Illustrious Prince and Lord, Lord Ludwig, Duke of Württemberg and Teck, Count of Montbéliard, etc. my Most Gracious Lord,

How much harm and evil the new Paracelsian method of healing, or rather, method of slaughter, has brought to our Germany, the most illustrious and most gracious prince, men of sound mind and not entirely neglectful of their own salvation are beginning to perceive and see clearly. Indeed, this plague has not confined itself to the common people, and men of no status, but has crept into the homes of the rich, invaded the dwellings of the noble and Counts, and even ascended to the halls and palaces of Princes. Truly, when I first heard of this sect and began to read the books of the author himself, I considered it more laughable than worthy of refutation by arguments. For so absurd, monstrous, inept, and far removed from all piety and truth are the teachings of this fanatic master to his fanatic disciples, that I could not at that time believe that anyone intelligent and learned would approve.

But when, against hope and expectation, I noticed that some of those who were regarded as learned, not only listened but praised the inventor and author of such delusions, and either silently or openly supported the doctrine, I thought it necessary to scrutinize everything more carefully to see if I could find anything good in this new thing. However, the more carefully and attentively I observe, examine, and consider each thing, the more absurd everything appears. Indeed, I discover not only that the new founder of the new sect has been harmful to the art of medicine, but also that he has attempted to overturn all philosophy and the liberal arts, and to root out all piety.

Therefore, urged on by men most distinguished for learning and virtue (who saw some strength in me), I willingly undertook the defense of truth and the Republic against the ravings of the Paracelsians. In the first part, I indeed exposed his monstrous impiety, and refuted his wicked and criminal audacity to the best of my ability. In the second, I overturned his false principles that are contrary to piety, and vindicated true philosophy from Paracelsian lies. In this third part, I tried to assert the art of medicine, the purest and most useful and necessary of all the arts given to us by God.

And since I had seen this sect to be particularly harmful to all, but especially to the rich and Princes, it seemed good to me to dedicate our disputations to the Princes, so that they would be more careful to avoid this plague. Indeed, they boast of using drugs that require much labor, time, expense, and preparation from costly substances: which, because they cannot be purchased by men of lesser fortune, they try to introduce into the households of the wealthy and Princes by all means. I am not ignorant of how many illustrious men certain people from this flock have shamelessly, yet with impunity, destroyed after receiving a large sum of money for their poisonous medications.

However, two main reasons have led me to dedicate this part especially to Your Highness. The first is your love for piety coupled with a remarkable love for good literature and the noble arts worthy of a Prince. Although this is common to you with others, nevertheless you have been so trained in both from tender years, that we can consider it as particularly yours: or at least we are compelled to hope for the greatest and best things from Your Highness. But it is now a unique feature, or at least shared with few, that this plague has never been able to penetrate your court, and that of your father, a most wise Prince, as far as I could discern. This makes me assured that I am going to do something by no means unpleasing to Your Highness, if I proclaim these very things, which must be proclaimed, along with your other virtues. I do not fear that anyone could accuse me of falsehood, since I have the most illustrious men as witnesses, Your Highness's physicians, Johann Kulmann, a man most renowned for his learning and experience, and Paul Constantine Phrygion, who is highly skilled in medical and particularly anatomical works.

Therefore, I do not want to use this dedication of this book to warn Your Highness to expel from your court the Paracelsian enemies of piety and good life, whom we know have never entered: but rather, I have tried much more to attest by this my action how much happier you are in this part than many others. I have no doubt that you will make an effort to eradicate these pests of human life from your court and your dominion. May the greatest and best God preserve Your Highness as a unique ornament to the Church and the Republic. Amen. Heidelberg, on the Nones of July, in the year 1572.

Your Most Observant Highness,

Thomas Erastus.