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Theophrastus’ De Historia Plantarum

SKU: 7790

Theophrastus’ De Historia Plantarum

Date of publication:

contemporary calf

Bodaeus von Stapel


  • Henricus Laurentius
  • Author(s):

  • Theophrastus
  • First illustrated edition of Theophrastus’ On Plants, with new discoveries

    Theophrastus: De Historia Plantarum libri decem, Graecè & Latinè. In quibus textum Graecum variis lectionibus, emendationibus, hiulcorum supplementis: Latinam Gazae versionem nova interpretatione ad margines: totum Opus absolutissimis cum Notis, tum Commentariis: item rariorum Plantarum iconibus illustravit Ioannes Bodaeus à Stapel, Medicus Amstelodamensis. Accesserunt Iulii Caesaris Scaligeri, in eosdem Libros Animadversiones: et Roberti Constantini Annotationes, Cum Indice locupletissimo. Amstelodami [Amsterdam], apud Henricum Laurentium, 1644. Folio. pp. [xx], 1187, [i], [lxxxviii]. Text in Greek and Latin, woodcut title-page (lower corner torn with loss), numerous woodcut intials throughout, approximately 675 woodcut illustrations in text, occasional spotting and very light browning. Eighteenth-century mottled sheep, worn but sound, old repairs to headcaps, corners and lower cover. Armorial bookplate, ‘Le Comte de Carburi’.

    One of the most important 17th Century botanical works, this is the first illustrated edition of Theophrastus and the first edition with Greek text and Latin translation. Bodaeus von Stapel’s edition is also among the best critical editions of Theophrastus, but more significantly the ancient text has been expanded to take account of recent discoveries in America and South Africa. (See Hunt 240, quoting H.H. Barlett in "Fifty-five Rare Books": "It is interesting not only because of the brilliance of the editing, but, curiously enough, to the American botanist as well, for involving in the discussion certain species from Virginia, other parts of the world, and Asia. The illustrations of these plants have been largely overlooked in botanical history, because of their incidental presence in a work which might not be expected to contain anything of the sort." For example, four pages are devoted to South African plants drawn by Justus Heurnius, the earlist known collector of plants from that region.)

    The bookplate appears to belong to Count Marco Carburi (1731-1808) - from 1760 the first professor of chemistry at Padua University. John James Ferber, describing his travels through Italy in a work published in 1775 writes of Carburi: "The chemical Laboratory at Padua, together with the hall, and the collection of minerals, has been but of late established by the present professor of chemistry, Count Marco Carburi. He was born in Greece, and travelled some years ago, at the expence of the Republick, to the mines in Saxony, on the Hartz, and in Sweden,where, in the year 1762, I got acquainted with him at Upsal. His brother was physician to his Sardinian Majesty at Turin, but has lived for the last year at Paris".