Herbolaire

Herbolaire

France — Second half of the 15th century

Ancient wisdom about medicinal plants and their practical effects: more than 500 realistic illustrations of plants, animals, and people in a unique compendium

  1. This French translation of Matthaeus Platearius' De Simplicibus medicinis contains 500+ depictions of plants, animals, and people

  2. The text is accompanied by gilded initials and gorgeous depictions of the remedies

  3. The masterfully illuminated contents are arranged alphabetically, also making the codex extremely practical

Herbolaire

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Herbolaire

One of the most famous texts concerning medicine and botany of the Middle Ages in a precious luxury edition: De simplicibus medicinis by Matthaeus Platearius. This work by the famous physician from the Salerno school listed 500 plants, herbs, and other remedies with instructions for their production, application, and effect. In his precious manuscript, originating ca. 1500 in France, the French translation of the text is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations, depictions of the remedies presented. Handsome gilded initials additionally embellish this edition and make its standing as a gem of illumination clear!

Herbolaire

One of the most famous texts concerning medicine and botany of the Middle Ages in a precious luxury edition: De simplicibus medicinis by Matthaeus Platearius. This work by the famous physician from the Salerno school listed 500 plants, herbs, and other remedies with instructions for their production, application, and effect. In his precious manuscript, originating ca. 1500 in France, the French translation of the text is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations, depictions of the remedies are also presented. Handsome gilded initials additionally embellish this edition and make its standing as a gem of illumination clear!

The French Translation of a Medieval Standard Work

Two herbaria from the 15th century are stored in the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria in Modena. One of them is the famous Herbolaire, also known as the Grant Herbier. This wonderful manuscript is a comprehensive illustrated edition of the medical-botanical text of De simplicibus medicinis by Platerius. This scientific codex makes up the foundation of a French translation with the title Livre des simples medicinis, which originates from France in the second half of the 15th century.

A Physician

Matthaeus Platearius was a famous physician from the Salerno school. Emulating a Dioscorides, he composed a botanical medical textbook that became one of the most famous medical books of the Middle Ages: De simplicibus medicinis (Of Simple Remedies). There are 500 efficacious plants and remedies in it with comprehensive information about their production, application, effect, and other themes and is arranged alphabetically for a better overview.

The Marvelous Illustrations

This particularly impressive edition of the famous text was surely the commission of a high-ranking personality. Each of the 340 pages is gorgeously illustrated, sometimes even with multiple depictions. The plants and remedies represented were realistically illustrated with detailed depictions of roots, leaves, fruits, and flowers. Additionally, animals, minerals, and figurative scenes of rural work, which depict the mining of sulfur or the collecting of aloe branches, can be found. Precious small Fleuronné initials, sometimes even accentuated with gold leaf, round out the impressive work!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Herbolaire Estense
Grant Herbier
Dictionar Gallicum Herbarum
Size / Format
340 pages / 28.0 × 20.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
Second half of the 15th century
Language
Illustrations
One or more illustrations of plants, animals and humans on nearly every page
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Honoré d'Urfé, marquis de Valromey, comte de Châteauneuf (1568–1625)

Available facsimile editions:
Herbolaire – Est. 28 = alfa M. 5. 9 – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2006
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Detail Picture

Herbolaire

Whale

Some animals can usually be found in herbal manuscripts, especially those that can be used for manufacturing remedies or other practical applications. Aside from being the largest mammals on earth, whales were also precious sources for meat, blubber, oil, and various products that can be made from their bones and baleen, which can be seen in the open mouth of the whale depicted here. Its blowhole is slightly off-center, and it looks back at the beholder with understandable hostility.

Herbolaire Estense o Grant Herbier
Single Page

Herbolaire

Allium and Asphodelus

Introduced by a shimmering golden “A”, the chapter concerning Allium sativum or garlic is a species of bulbous flowering plant in the onion genus Allium that has been used for medicinal purposes around the world for millennia. The famous Persian physician Avicenna recommended it for treating arthritis, snake and insect bites, parasites, chronic cough, and as an antibiotic.
Depicted on the left is Asphodelus, a genus of mainly perennial flowering plants with a spike that blooms with white or yellow flowers. It was supposed to be a remedy for poisonous snakebites and a specific against sorcery that was somehow fatal to mice but preserved pigs from disease. In Greek mythology, it is one of the most famous plants connected to the underworld.

Herbolaire Estense o Grant Herbier
Facsimile Editions

#1 Herbolaire Estense o Grant Herbier

Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2006
Herbolaire – Est. 28 = alfa M. 5. 9 – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Herbolaire – Est. 28 = alfa M. 5. 9 – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2006
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Binding: The original brown leather binding has been faithfully replicated
Commentary: 1 volume by Ernesto Milano, Roberto Baroni Fornasiero, Giuseppe Trenti, and Elena Corradini
Languages: Italian, French
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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