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The Margarita philosophica is a compendium of universal knowledge and contains sections on astronomy, astrology, grammar, music, rhetoric, and many other topics. It is an important text for students both of early modern scientific knowledge generally and of pre-Vesalian anatomy and dissection specifically. One illustration presents a view of the thoracic and abdominal viscera. Another offers one of the oldest known schematic representations of the eye (an image that has been traced to a fifteenth-century Leipzig manuscript), and a third depicts Zodiac Man. This representation of a human figure indicates the astrological signs which contemporary physicians thought governed each part of the body. Crude and misleading as these plates may be, both from modern esthetic and scientific points of view, they show the value graphic as well as textual information could possess once new print technologies enabled its reproduction and circulation in multiple copies. The Margarita was reprinted almost immediately (1504), a sign of the importance contemporaries assigned it.
Gregor Reisch, d. 1525. Margarita philosophica. [Freiburg im Breisgau]: Chalchographatum primiciali hac pressura Friburgi p[er] ioanne[m] Schottu[m] Argen[toraci], Citra festu[m] Margarethe anno gratiae MCCCCCIII (19 July 1503). 39.R275.