Greek Dioscorides

Greek Dioscorides

Monastery of St. John the Baptist (Istanbul, Turkey) — Mid 15th century

A masterpiece of herbal medicine from Constantinople: the life's work of the Greek doctor Dioscorides with detailed plant pictures

  1. This significant botanical/medical work originated from the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Constantinople

  2. Originally written by Pedanios Dioscorides Anazarbeus (ca. 40–90), a physician in the Roman Army

  3. It was the primary text on the applications of efficacious plants and substances for centuries in East and West

Greek Dioscorides

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Greek Dioscorides

The manuscript of the so-called Dioscorides Greaco-Latinus, also known as the Greek Dioscorides, is a significant work lying somewhere between botany and medicine from the famous library of Pope Alexander VII. The Dioscorides is based on an ancient manuscript from the first century after Christ and is named after its author, the Greek physician Pedanios Dioscorides Anazarbeus. This was considered to be the fundamental text concerning the effects and applications of efficacious plants and substances. The Greek Dioscorides, originating from the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Constantinople, impresses with its magnificent depictions of the plants and herbs presented therein.

Greek Dioscorides

The manuscript of the so-called Dioscorides Greaco-Latinus, also known as the Greek Dioscorides, is a significant work lying somewhere between botany and medicine from the famous library of Pope Alexander VII. The Dioscorides is based on an ancient manuscript from the first century after Christ and is named after its author, the Greek physician Pedanios Dioscorides Anazarbeus. This was considered to be the fundamental text concerning the effects and applications of efficacious plants and substances. The Greek Dioscorides, originating from the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Constantinople, impresses with its magnificent depictions of the plants and herbs presented therein.

The Pope’s Herbal Book

This great treasure of medicine and botany is stored in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. 484 wonderfully illustrated pages 28.3 x 19.8 cm presents the standard work of ancient herbal books. Originating from the Monastery of John the Baptist in Constantinople (the author or illustrator is mentioned in the text as Isisor Ruthenus), probably came into the possession of Cardinal Fabio Chigi, who was later Pope Alexander VII (1655–67), and whose coat of arms is depicted on the cover with gold embossing. The Greek Dioscorides – with text in Greek, Latin, and other languages – undoubtedly represents a highlight of the famous Vatican library!

The Ancient Author

The so-called Dioscorides manuscripts trace their roots back to an ancient doctor. Pedanios Dioscorides Anazerebus was a doctor and naturalist who was born in Anazarba in Asia Minor in the 1st century. He was active as a physician in the Roman military under the Emperors Claudius and Nero. With his treatise concerning the medicinal effects of plants, but also animal and mineral materials, he composed the primary work of early medicine and the template and example for medieval pharmacopeias. The Dioscorides enjoyed great fame both in the Orient and the Occident.

Gorgeous Depictions of the Remedies

The Dioscorides shows the typical applications of known medicinal herbs. In his work, he presents and depicts herbs, trees with their roots, additional efficacious plants, but also animals and minerals; the handsome and realistic pictures are furnished with various names and designations. Additionally, one finds notes on the properties and applications of various remedies from roots, bulbs, bark, resin, buds, leaves, flowers, as well as seeds from trees, shrubs, plants, herbs, and vegetables. Up until the Renaissance, the treatise – a work between botany and medicine – was famous and was used for advice by doctors and pharmacists as well as all kinds of people who wanted to learn something about the medicinal effects of natural remedies.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Dioscórides Greco-Latino del Papa Alejandro VII
Dioscurides graeco-latinus
Greek Latin Dioscurides
Griechischer Dioscurides
Size / Format
484 pages / 28.3 × 19.8 cm
Origin
Turkey
Date
Mid 15th century
Illustrations
Drawings of 600 plants, 90 minerals, and 30 animal products
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Cardinal Fabio Chigi (1599–1667), who became Pope Alexander VII

Available facsimile editions:
Greek Dioscorides – Chig. F.VII.1590 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2001
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Dioscórides Greco-Latino del Papa Alejandro VII

Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
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