HERB - Re: Tree diagrams

N.D. Wederstrandt nweders at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Dec 2 08:03:53 PST 1998

>Well, we know that classical sources, such as Dioscorides, were widely
>used. Doeden was reassembled into at least 3 or 4 books. However, one
>thing to be concerned about is that the amount a book was copied from (say
>pirated, that's more accurate) may reflect not it's popularity, but the
>unlikelihood of getting hassled for it! Herbals were big business, and
>printers got their contents wherever they could-- which often meant
>'borrowing' from foreign or little known works... For instance, a vocal
>and well known author might be copied from LESS because they would sue,
>complain, etc.

	well, before printing the only way one could get a book was to copy
it.  i could see where monasteries would do book swaps.  WE have this one
and we want one of yours so lets swap...  that's why differences in texts
possibly occured as well, a scribe copied it wrong or it offended their
sense of religion, or they felt the info was incorrect so they "fixed it".
Also translations altered what a book was about as well. (we see that in
comparing translation of beowulf..... different translators strive for
different things. Clarity, exact translations, one word having a variety of
meanigs and some words are no longer being used.....  Also if a monatsery
was famed for it's library of medicinal books (say the medical school in
Salerno) they would naturally collect medical books and make copies for

	Once printing came into effect., I imagine different printers did
different things as well.  When I was researchin a religious movement in
Medieval france and Belgium, one of the books was banned due to heresy yet
we have 7 copies of it in 5 different languages that were preserved from
different monasteries.  They felt that the book wasn't bad so they hid it
to preserve it.  Or the monastery was so small no one thought to remove
their book since they were not an important center of learning.   Look at
Shakespear, he stole a lot of his ideas from other writers and never gave
credit, money or seem concerned he'd get sued.   I wonder how much that was
a legal concern...... (that would be interesting to look up.)


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