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4 Der Wal als Schauobjekt: Thomas Bartholin (1616–1680), die dänische Nation und das Ende der Einhörner With an English Summary

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Chapter Summary

In the early modern period, the unicorn was a creature whose existence was guaranteed just as firmly by the ancient authorities on the natural world, such as Ctesias and Aelian, as by Scripture and contemporary travel reports. This chapter discusses about the dynasty of Scandinavian scholars, the Bartholin family in Copenhagen. Ctesias had reported in his ethnography that the unicorn had the shape of a horse, equipped with a reddish-white fur, armed with a big horn on his head, and which was hard to kill. Thomas Bartholin, for the first time systematically studied the unicorn horns preserved in the cabinets of curiosities, cathedrals and apothecaries of Europe. The curious synthesis presented by Thomas Bartholin, which aimed to do justice both to contemporary science and Iceland's economic interests, had great success in the following years.The original text of the chapter is in German.

Keywords: Ctesias and Aelian; cathedrals; apothecaries



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