Boch, Hieronymus


Kreutterbüch: Darin Underschei dt Namen unnd Würckunng der Kreütter, Staüden, Hecken und Beümen Sampt Iren Früchten so inn Teütschen Landen Wachsen: Auch Derselbigen Eygentlicher und Wolgegründter Gebrauch in der Artzney Fleiszig Dargeben Leibs Gesundtheyt zü Fürdern und zü Behalten Sehr Nutzlich und Tröstlich Vorab dem Gemeynen Eynfaltigen Mann.

Durch H. Hieronymum Bock ausz langwiriger unnd gewisser erfahrung beschriben; und jetzund von newem fleiszig ubersehen, gebessert und gemehret. Gedruckt zu Straszburg: [J. Rihel], 1572. Includes Latin and German indexes. References: BM STC German, 1455-1600. Illustrations hand-colored throughout. Thirty-three leaves of ms. notes and 3 blank leaves bound in at end. First and last leaves mounted on new sheets and tipped in.

This herbal by Hieronymus Bock ranks second only to that of Leonhart Fuchs in its importance. The realistic woodcut illustrations by David Kandel make this a memorable work because of its visual appeal. Bock's purpose was not just to identify plants known by Dioscorides, but also to discuss their characteristics. He wrote about what he had actually observed rather than merely copying or synthesizing the writings of others. Although Bock was self-taught, he was the first to create a system of botany that classified plants into three categories: herbs, shrubs, and trees. He then subdivided each group by similar characteristics or relationships. Although he did not develop such concepts as "genus" or "species," his work laid the foundation for later botanists such as Bauhin and Linnaeus. As Bock prepared to publish the results of his study, he realized he could ill afford to hire illustrators for his book. To compensate for a lack of illustrations he focused on writing such clear descriptions of the plants that even laymen would recognize what he was trying to portray. Thus he developed the prototype of modern phytography, the science of plant description. When later editions were issued, however, the publisher decided that illustrations should be included to make the book more useful. This third edition is illustrated and the plates are hand-colored.

Subjects: Medicinal plants; Botany--Pre-Linnean works.


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