Preface, 1553, Achatius Morbach to the Reader

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Author: Achatius Morbach
Recipient: Reader
Type: Preface
Date: Expression error: Unrecognized word "no".
Pages: 2
Language: Latin
Quote as:
Editor: Edited by Julian Paulus
Paracelsus, Labyrinthus medicorum errantium, ed. Achatius Morbach, Nürnberg 1553 [BP030]
Translation: Raw translation see below
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[sig. A2r] Achativs Morbachvs medicinæ candidatvs, lectori foelicitatem &c.

Medicinam maxima in ueneratione semper fuisse, lector candidissime, adeo perspicuum est, ut neminem qui litteras legerit latere possit, Nam siue Hebræos siue Arabes secutus fuerit: seu Egyptios & Persas seu denique Græcos ac Latinos attigerit, eam semper aut diuinos homines, quos Heroas uacomus, aut pientissimos Theologos, aut magos religiosissimos, aut philosophos sapientissimos, aut etiam reges potentissimos tum coluisse, tum exercuisse inueniret, multosq́ue ex his & deos habitos: plurimos uero tantis honoribus effectos quantos homini impendere uix fas est. Verum nostro æuo (quod citra animi excandescentiam referre nequeo) in abiectissimorum ne dicam perditissimorum hominum tractationem deuenit, ut nemo tam rudis, tam ignauus, tam omnium rerum imperitus existat, qui sese ex professo medicum dicere non audeat. In illam nempe fecem hominum detrusa est medicina, ut non modo aliptæ & balneatores, pigmentarij, & pharmacopolæ, uerumetiam coci, cupediarij, circulatores, hystriones, & tota illa turba circumforaneorum medicinam exercere audeat, qui tamen omnes carnifices uerius quàm me- [sig. A2v] dici & dicendi & habendi sunt. Quod in primis hominum uitas negotiantur, questum magis quàm artem secuti, & dum mederi audent homines perdant, Hi sunt qui periculis nostris, ut ille ait, discunt, & per experimenta utas auferunt. Cuius temeritatis licentiam sola impunitas hactenus præstitit, cum nulla lex sit (ut Plinij uerbis utar) quæ inscitiam capitalem puniat. Ne tamen perpetuo & sine exemplo uindictæ hoc genus hominum elabatur, iuditium nuperrime cum Mulomedico peractum, sub specie Dialogi, proponere uolui, quem scilicet Dialogum sub calcem huius Labyrinthi reperies, in quo causa publica mortalium agitur, Inprimisq́ue temeritas ac maleuolentia istius sectæ ho[minu]m manifestis, argumentis, tum culpatur, tum reuicitur, demum quoque pro meritis uindicatur. Nemo autem existimet criminib[us] ab illis arreptis, ut medicinam artem omnium præclarssimam arrodere uelim, Sed quo Mulomedicos istos & infimæ plebis quisquilias, qui nec natare nec literas norunt, coargua, rapacesq́ue ipsorum nundinas subuertam, qui humanæ uitæ ad mortem usque insidiantur. Adesto ergo, lector candidiss[ime] animo æquiore ac communem humani generis iacturam, reique medicæ dedecus curiosius expende, Inuenies enimuero nulla pestem longius abigendam, quàm malum medicum qui dum uitam hominis aut tueri aut reparare promittit, necem interitumq́ue machinatur, ceu hoc Phoebea luce clarius ex instituta scæna cognoscere licebit. Tu modo fac spectatorem iucundum agas. Vale ac plaude.

English Raw Translation

Generated by ChatGPT on 2 March 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.


Dear reader, it is obvious that medicine has always been held in the highest esteem, whether one has followed the Hebrews or Arabs, Egyptians and Persians, or finally the Greeks and Latins. It has always been practiced by divine men, whom we call heroes, the most pious theologians, the most religious magi, the wisest philosophers, and even the most powerful kings, many of whom have been considered gods and most of whom have been honored with as much reverence as is hardly allowed to man. However, in our age (which I cannot refer to without anger), medicine has fallen into the hands of the most worthless, not to say the most corrupt, people, so that no one is so ignorant, cowardly or inexperienced in all things that he does not dare to call himself a doctor. Medicine has been thrown into this dung heap of men, so that not only the masseurs and bath attendants, the perfumers and pharmacists, but also the cooks, the peddlers, the strolling players, and the whole gang of itinerant doctors dare to practice medicine, who are, however, truer butchers in terms of medicine, speech and behavior. They are those who, as he says, learn from our dangers and remove our joys through experiments. The license for such recklessness has so far been granted only by impunity, since there is no law (to use the words of Pliny) which punishes capital ignorance. However, so that this type of people may not escape forever and without an example of punishment, I recently wanted to present a trial conducted with a quack under the guise of a dialogue, which you will find at the end of this labyrinth, in which the public cause of mortals is dealt with, and especially the rashness and malice of this sect of people are both accused and refuted by clear arguments and finally vindicated for their merits. No one, however, should think that by accusing them of crimes, I want to gnaw away at medicine, the most excellent of all arts, but rather that I expose these quacks and the rubbish of the lowest people, who do not know how to swim or read, and overthrow their rapacious trade, who plot against human life even to death. Therefore, dear reader, be fair-minded and examine the common loss of humanity and the disgrace of medicine more closely, for you will find that there is no plague to be driven away farther than the bad doctor who promises to protect or restore a person's life and instead plots death and destruction, as you will be able to see more clearly in this play of Phoebus' light. Just be a pleasant spectator. Farewell and applaud.