Botany and Herb Books
Botanical manuscripts like the style-forming Vienna Dioscorides or the artful manuscript of the Tractatus de Herbis known as Sloane 4016 were among the most historically-significant of the Middle Ages. They represent a bridge between the wisdom of antiquity and modern medicine for the history of science, offer a glimpse of daily medieval life for cultural historians, and help art historians to trace the evolution of European aesthetics.
The often rich and lifelike illuminated works were the basis of every medical treatment in the Middle Ages. The medicinal plants depicted and described there were grown in specially designed herb gardens, for example in monasteries. This made it possible for people to treat practically every ailment and illness.
So-called herb books were made from late antiquity to the Renaissance. These texts were some of the only sources from antiquity to survive intact in the West throughout the Renaissance, but others were acquired through translations of Arabic and Hebrew sources, some of which were themselves transmissions of ancient texts. Botanical manuscripts formed an important part of the medieval foundations of modern science and continue to represent a highly-sought-after artistic genre.