Thurneisser zum Thurn, Leonhard


[Historia und Beschriebung influentischer, elementarischer und naturlicher Wirckungen aller Erdgewechssen. Latin]

Historia sive descriptio plantarum tam domesticarum quam exoticarum.

Coloniae Agrippinae [Cologne]: Apud Joannem Gymnicum, 1587. First of a projected 10 books on astrological botany; no more published. Second Latin edition. ASU copy lacks chi6, P4, P5, P6.

Thurneisser was an adventurer and charlatan of the first order. Born in Basle, he engaged in the fraudulent practice of trying to pay a debt by faking the alchemy of gold by gilding a block of lead. When discovered, he was forced to leave town. He travelled widely, settled in Berlin and began practicing medicine there. He continued to indulge in questionable practices, such as prescribing costly drugs to the rich, including gold drops, tincture of pearls, and water of amythyst, as a way of enhancing his own fortune. He formed a cabinet of natural curiosities, including a large collection of dried plants and seeds, and grew many rare herbs. His writings are classed as astrological botany, and he advocated planting and harvesting according to the correct position of the planets and heavenly bodies. He includes in his writings numerous diagrams, which are possibly horoscope charts, to give an indication of the course of an illness and possible herbal treatment. His drawings or descriptions of plants are not always clear enough for precise identification. This is the Latin version of his work, translated from the original German.

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


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