Alpini, Prosper


Prosperi Alpini: De plantis Aegypti liber: in quo non pauci, qui circa herbarum materiam irrepserunt, errores, deprehenduntur, quorum causa hactenus multa medicamenta ad usum medicine admodum expetenda, plerisque medicorum, non sine artis iactura, occulta, atque obsoleta iacuerunt: accessit liber de Balsamo alias editus.

Venetiis, Apud Franciscum de Franciscis Senensem, 1592. "Liber de balsamo, dialogus" (leaves 58-80) has separate t.p. References: BM STC Italian, 1465-1600; Hunt 164. Errata on last leaf. Includes index.

Alpini served as the Chair of Botany at the University of Padua in the Venetian Republic, and because he was a doctor, he was asked to accompany the Venetian consul, Giorgio Emo, to Egypt. While there Alpini took full advantage of the opportunity to study the varied and unfamiliar plant life. In this publication describing plants of Egypt, Alpini was the first European writer not only to mention but also to illustrate the coffee bush, the banana, and the baobab (the baobab illustration is not in this book). This small volume contains many woodcuts which are more decorative than realistic. On his return, Alpini brought back Egyptian plants and trees to the botanical garden at Padua; the palm trees still thrive there. Later he became director of the garden, which is considered one of the outstanding botanical gardens of Europe.

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


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