De historia plantarum libri decem, græce & latine. In quibus textum græcum variis lectionibus, emendationibus, hiulcorum, supplementis: latinam gazæ versionem nova interpretatione ad margines: totum opus absolutissimis cum notis, tum
Farmaceutica - Storia
With good cause Teophrastus (371-286 B.C.), he who speaks like a God (the nickname was given to him by the great Aristotle of whom he was a disciple), can be considered the father of the natural sciences and of Botany in particular. Of the latter he established the cardinal principles in several works, among which stand out the 10 books (in reality 9) of what in the West is most known as the Historia plantarum. The work is presented here in a re-edition of 1664 in which facing the Greek text appears the Latin translation of Teodoro Gaza. The 10 books constituted for that time a true botanical encyclopedia providing an embryonal taxonomic orientation (with a clear distinction between trees, herbs, suffruticosus plants and a fourth category, perennial plants) and giving information on the formation, structure and use of the various parts of the plants while describing their roots, leaves, barks, flowers, fruits, bulbs, their means of reproduction, their environmental distribution (land plants and water plants), the juices and the scents that they secrete and so forth. At the end of each chapter (24 in the first book, 9 in the second, 18 in the third, 19 in the fourth, 10 in the fifth, 7 in the sixth, 14 in the seventh, 10 in the eighth and 22 in the ninth and tenth together), in which the original text of Teophrastus and the Latin translation are paired in two columns, we find the critique (animaadversiones) of Giulio Cesare Caligero, the annotations (annotations) of Roberto Costantino and finally the notes (notae) and the commentary (commentarious) of Giovanni Bodeo da Stapel (Stapelio). The latter may truly be considered an author in this voluminous work, almost 1200 pages in this quarto volume (plus about fifty sheets outside of the text). Strapelio supports his commentary with very schematic black and white drawings of plants or their parts that are, overall, sufficiently faithful to reality. In the course of his commentary to the various chapters, Stapelio takes the opportunity to extend the already broad picture traced by Teophrastus and illustrates in almost encyclopedic fashion all of the various botanical species and their applications, which run, to give a few examples, from the various types of fruit, to food plants, to the production of balsam, to the description of cultivated and spontaneous plants, to the parallels between one species and another, to the harvesting of cinnamon, to how, and from which trees, charcoal can be made.