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The Survival of Pliny in Padua. Transforming Classical Scholarship during the Botanical Renaissance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the role of ancient texts was transformed in such a way that it could still meet the requirements of the botanical discipline, its practitioners and its beneficiaries, by providing the organizational principle of botanical knowledge and lending authorization to medical botany as an autonomous discipline in general, and to the related scholarly competences and commercial benefits in particular. The introduction to Andrea Mattioli's commentary has an entire section on the divinity of nature, based on Pliny, and a whole list of ancient authors who also dealt with botany. The novelty of the botanical garden enhanced the reputation of the city of Padua and the Venetian government, as was already anticipated in the petition to the Riformatori. During the botanical Renaissance the ancient botanical texts gradually lost their status as undisputed and omniscient sources of knowledge, as they were increasingly challenged both for their correctness and completeness.

Keywords: ancient botanical texts; Andrea Mattioli; botanical Renaissance; medical botany; Padua; Pliny



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