New Herbarium by Castore Durante

New Herbarium by Castore Durante – Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Biblioteca del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino (Turin, Italy)

Venice (Italy) β€” 1717

Detailed descriptions and illustrative woodcuts of over 900 medicinal plants: the accumulated knowledge of the Middle Ages concerning medicinal herbs in an astonishingly modern work

  1. This herbal-medical text was composed ca. 1580 and revised, expanded, and reprinted until 1718

  2. The astonishingly modern work contains 900 detailed descriptions and illustrative woodcuts of plants

  3. Alphabetically listed in Italian, their scientific terms are given in Latin and Greek, among other languages

New Herbarium by Castore Durante

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
New Herbarium by Castore Durante

The medicine of the Middle Ages was largely based on healing properties of plants and herbs. One of the most important guidebooks on medieval botany and herbal medicine was composed around 1580 by the Italian Castore Durante. His Herbario Nuovo was continuously revised, expanded, and reprinted until 1718, making it is of great scientific and literary-historical value. The easily understandable yet precise explanations are complemented by realistic illustrations in woodcut technique. The 1717 edition contains numerous revisions and new findings on technical procedures and the new discoveries of exotic animal and plant species. As this publication of 1717 was published in a very limited number of copies, this is a special rarity from the Italian late Middle Ages. With the Herbarium, Durante sought to disseminate scientific facts about medicinal plants and herbs that had existed since antiquity. The astonishingly modern manual contains descriptions of plants, some of which are still valid today, and is still used as a guide in alternative medicine.

New Herbarium by Castore Durante

The Herbario Nuovo, composed by the Italian botanist Castore Durante, is the most comprehensive work on medieval botany and medicine. The text possesses astounding worth, not only scientifically, but also with respect to literary history. It was published for the first time in 1585 and constantly expanded until 1718 and republished many times. The specimen at hand is a 1717 edition, which was only published in a very limited quantity. It is a special rarity among the numerous book treasures of the Italian Middle Ages.

A Modern Edition

The 1717 version of the herbarium contains revisions and new findings, which were still unknown at the time of the first edition. New technical processes and new discoveries of exotic animals and plants, which first occurred after 1585, were included here. With his New Herbarium, the author Durante disseminated scientific facts about efficacious plants and herbs, which already existed since antiquity. In order to clearly understand his medical handbook and also to make it comprehensible for laymen, he used simple but precise descriptions, which were supported by detailed pictures.

The Scientific Durante

The author of the Herbario Nuovo was the Italian Castore Durante. He came into the world in 1529 in Gualdo Tadino in the Italian province of Perugia. The physician and botanist earned the status of β€œhonorary citizen of the city of Rome”. Durante was active as a scholar in the cities of Viterbo and Rome in the name of the Popes Gregory XIII and Sixtus V. It was particularly during his time in Rome that he distinguished himself in his profession. He was one of the most famous authors of scientific and literary manuals in Italy. He died in 1590 in his adopted home of Viterbo.

A Guidebook That Holds True Today

The herbarium describes over 900 species in alphabetical order in their colloquial names. The description is accompanied by their scientific designation in Latin and Greek. In some parts the Arabic, French, Spanish, and German titles are also named. The precise yet comprehensible descriptions in the text were completed by astoundingly realistic illustrations. Many of the plants depicted still exist today and still possess the same medicinal worth that they did in the Middle Ages, The botanical handbook still serves today as a guidebook for alternative medicine.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
New Herbal by Castore Durante
Erbario nuovo di Castore Durante
Herbario nuovo di Castore Durante
Neues Herbarium von Castore Durante
Herbario Nuovo
Size / Format
640 pages / 33.0 Γ— 23.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1717
Language
Illustrations
900 species presented in alphabetical order with illustrations
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
New Herbarium by Castore Durante – Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Biblioteca del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Scarmagno, 2000
Limited Edition: 1349 copies
Detail Picture

New Herbarium by Castore Durante

The star of Bethlehem

The Ornithogalum is also called the Star of Bethlehem, a name that the bulbous plant got from its white star-shaped flowers. According to the legend, the Star of Bethlehem, after having fulfilled its mission of guiding the Three Wise Men and the shepherds to the stable of Bethlehem, burst into countless small pieces and scattered over the meadows and fields. This gave rise to the white flowering stars of the Ornithogaleae, which are still used today as decorative plants in their extensive carpets of flowers. Even if the name Star of Bethlehem appears not until the 17th century, already Castore Durante (1529-90) compares the shape of the open flowers with a star.

New Herbarium by Castore Durante – Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Biblioteca del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Single Page

New Herbarium by Castore Durante

Sio and Siringa

The more than 900 species described in the Hebarium are alphabetically listed according to their colloquial names. Structured like a handbook, the entries contain descriptions of the external appearance, occurrence and the various uses. However, the illustrations are the decisive factor, which were not added for aesthetic reasons only but serve as detailed pictures to illustrate the descriptions. The woodcuts so accompany and complete the entries on the respective plant species.

On the left is the precise, yet easy to understand description of the Sium the plant species Merk, which belongs to the umbellifer family and is distributed with about 15 species in Eurasia, North America and Africa. In addition to the information that the plant with its straight stems, crowned as if by an umbrella of white flowers, can be found near water, such as banks, the description contains information on the correct external and internal use of the plant.

The right column contains the plant type of the lilac Siringa (also Syringa), which is often cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens due to its beautiful appearance and pleasant sweet scent. This is followed by the more popular common lilac Siringa Cerulea, with its numerous small and tightly-seated flowers.

New Herbarium by Castore Durante – Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Biblioteca del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Herbario nuovo di Castore Durante

Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Scarmagno, 2000

Publisher: Priuli & Verlucca, editori – Scarmagno, 2000
Limited Edition: 1349 copies
Binding: Calfskin, with raised bands and gilding on the spine and a handmade slipcase.
Commentary: 1 volume by Giuliana Forneris, Annalaura Pistarino, Pierangelo Lomagno, and Paola Lanzara
Language: Italian
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
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