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Changing Representations of Botany in Encyclopaedias from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a specific feature, the role played by botany in early modern encyclopaedic culture. It offers an initial description of the content of Domenico Bandini's botanical account. Bartholomew the Englishman's influence on Bandini has been acknowledged by Heinz Meyer and emphasised, with some qualifications, by Markus Schürer. In a certain sense, one could say that Georgius Valla offers a very personal interpretation of the relationship between natural history (in particular, botany) and medicine. The chapter also considers the structure and content of the botanical section of Raffaele Maffei's encyclopaedia Commentariorum urbanorum libri XXX. The book consists of a short prologue in which Maffei offers a brief overview of the botanical authors of antiquity by distinguishing philosophers and scientists such as Aristotle, Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Pliny from compilers of agricultural treatises.

Keywords: Bartholomew the Englishman; botany; Commentariorum urbanorum libri XXX; Domenico Bandini; early modern encyclopaedic culture; Georgius Valla; Raffaele Maffei



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