De Cataractis

A Roman account of cataracts and their removal
David Esslemont
New Publication

February 2023

Edition of thirty

Following recent cataract surgery I now see a brighter, sharper world with great clarity.

Curiosity led me to the medical treatise De Medicina, written around 30 AD by Aurelius Cornelius Celsus. Thought to be part of a larger encyclopedia it includes a chapter on the description and treatment of cataracts: ‘De Cataractis’.

I am pleased to present three pages from a fifteenth-century copy of De Medicina in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, together with a Latin transcript and an English translation.

MrBeast didn’t pay for my surgery but I can wholly recommend the procedure. I hope the curious will find Celsus’s description an interesting read and enjoy lifting the veils of Gampi paper to reveal the effect of phacoemulsification with intraoculaur lens Model DCB00 implantation.

With sixteenth-century woodcuts, details of two digital flowers from Florilegium Solmentes (the blurry versions simulating the effect of cataracts) and a veiled photograph revealing hitherto lost astonishing blues. 30 copies, 20pp, 15 x 10 inches, printed inkjet in card covers with handmade paper wrappers.

Download as PDF

De Cataractis title opening
De Cataractis pages 10–11
Sunrise and snow with cataract
Gazania flower half blurry to represent cataracts
De Cataractis double-page spread of original manuscript
Digital flower with blurry image
Digital flower with blurry image and colophon

Copyright © David Esslemont 2023