Traces the search for order in the natural world, a search that for hundreds of years occupied some of the most brilliant minds in Europe, reaching its apex during the Renaissance. From Athens in the third century BC, through Constantinople, Venice, the medical school at Salerno to the universities of Pisa and Padua, the journey involves a world full of intrigue and intensely competitive egos, from Europe to the culture of Islam, the first expeditions to the Indies and the first settlers in the New World. Gradually, over a long period, plants assumed identities and artists painted pictures of them. Plants acquired the two-part names that show how they are related to other plants. But who began all this work, and how was it done?--From publisher description.
In the beginning -- All men by nature desire to know -- The Alexandrian library -- Pliny the plagiarist -- The medicine men -- Juliana's book -- The Arab influence -- Out of the black hole -- The image makers -- Theophrastus reborn -- Brunfels's book -- The irascible Fuchs -- In Italy -- The first botanic garden -- The long-nosed nit-picker -- Weaving the web -- Protestants prevail -- Gesner's masterpiece -- New pastures -- Plantin's team -- The last of the herbals -- English achievements -- The American connection -- The beginning of the end
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