HERB - Re: Tree diagrams

Gaylin Walli gwalli at infoengine.com
Thu Dec 3 08:53:33 PST 1998

Agnes wrote:

>But copying was the right thing to do for most of period, as I
>understand it.

That's how I understand it too.

>The idea of "new" and "original" should replace the established,
>historical view, is, as I understand it, one of the things that
>separates the Renaissance and the Age of Reason from the Middle Ages.

This was only in western Europe, though was it not?

I'm only vaguely remembering something I read last night, so pardon
my struggling here. The schools in Italy, say, did not have the same
problem even as late period progressed. Schools in Italy and
those with direct contact to the schools with Arabic backgrounds, as
I remember reading (poorly remember!) had a better chance of going
beyond the copying stage and producing new material, though it was
often additional material, rather than supplanted text. Is it not
true that the only reason we have some of the greatest Greek documents
is because the Arabic people preserved them while western Europe
futzed around and destroyed them or let them decay and get lost,

Here's the way I understand it: the Arabs and schools in Italy which
had some contact with them, had better medicine knowledge and made
more of a serious effort (in later period) to move beyond the simple
rote teaching. Throw in basic human disecction there too (bear with
me here). Schools in Italy and progressing further south had a better
change of teaching dissection and autopsy (though most often it was
taught in winter). Many many things were learned during this kind
of process, medical information previously thought to be wonderful
started taking on a tarnish, and many medical writers from the southern
and Arab schools started adding to the works rather than just copying
them or translating them.

Gah. Just looking at all that frightens my good writing sensibilities.
I hope everyone can follow that twisted path of logic.

>Macer is a selection of Dioscorides in Latin verse:  shorter, and
>easier to learn because its poetry.

Only in some copies of the manuscript, as I understand it, right?
Macer dates from the middle of the 15th century AFAIR. And if I
remember something about one of the Macer copies, it actually had
only the plants' usages in Latin, with the descriptions and names in
English, and also with very short entries entirely in English.
I'll double-check this though, because I'm pretty sure I read
it recently. It's probably in the Agnus Castus book I have on

>And whether the author was a encyclopedia-ist (wanted to
>include everything possible) or not.  And: was he writing a readers'
>digest condensed edition? a popular handbook? or a tome for other

True. This seems to be exceptionally true from some of the stuff
I've been reading in the last week.

>And, as you get to the printed ones, the philosophy of knowledge is
>changing radically.

Did they really? I mean for the first ones printed? Or was there
a time lag? The first herbal known to have been printed was....
hmmm....late 1400's, right? I can't remember the name

>That's why we [in university Botany courses] always teach that
>Gerard is the first herbal to include plants that aren't useful,
>just to catalog them, thus changing subtly from an herbal to what
>we'd now call a flora.

Having not read it, I have to ask how the _Herbarium Apuleii_ fits in
that picture? Didn't Pliny just catalog plants too?

>(Hmmm but I still use him as if he's Period, how intellectually
>dishonest!)  (The unabridged has a bunch of detailed information on
>American plants, relevant to all those "but did they actually eat ---"


Jasmine de Cordoba, Midrealm, gwalli at infoengine.com

"Si enim alicui placet mea devotio, gaudebo; si autem
nulli placet, memet ipsam tamen juvat quod feci."
-- Hroswith of Gandersheim
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