The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Nov 29, 2005 - History - 471 pages

An exhilarating new book from the author of the worldwide bestseller The Tulip.

The Naming of Names traces the search for order in the natural world, a search that for hundreds of years occupied some of the most brilliant minds in Europe.

Redefining man's relationship with nature was a major pursuit during the Renaissance. But in a world full of poisons, there was also an urgent practical need to name and recognize different plants, because most medicines were made from plant extracts.

Anna Pavord takes us on a thrilling adventure into botanical history, traveling from Athens in the third century BC, through Constantinople, Venice, the medical school at Salerno to the universities of Pisa and Padua. The journey, traced here for the first time, involves the culture of Islam, the first expeditions to the Indies and the first settlers in the New World.

In Athens, Aristotle's pupil Theophrastus was the first man ever to write a book about plants. How can we name, sort, and order them? He asked. The debate continues still, two thousand years later. Sumptuously illustrated in full colour, The Naming of Names gives a compelling insight into a world full of intrigue and intensely competitive egos.

 

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User Review  - jjwilson61 - LibraryThing

I was expecting a book on the history of taxonomy for plants and what I got was a bunch of brief biographies on mostly medieval, mostly German, herbalists who had printed various volumes listing ... Read full review

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User Review  - AJBraithwaite - LibraryThing

The extent of my awareness of the naming of plants a few weeks ago was 'Isn't that something to do with Linnaeus?'. Well, this book has put me right in a big way. Linnaeus features only in the ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
IN THE BEGINNING
41
I ALL MEN BY NATURE DESIRE TO KNOW
44
II THE ALEXANDRIAN LIBRARY
57
PLINY THE PLAGIARIST
62
THE MEDICINE MEN
71
ULIANAS BOOK
82
THE ARAB INFLUENCE
93
OUT OF THE BLACK HOLE
109
THE IMAGE MAKERS
125
2
143
X BRUNEELSS BOOK
146
THE IRASCIBLE FUCHS
175
IN ITALY
205
THE FIRST BOTANIC GARDEN XV THE LONGNOSED NITPICKER
243
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About the author (2005)

Anna Pavord is the gardening correspondent for the Independent and the author of eight previous books, including the bestselling The Tulip. She contributes to a number of magazines, both in the US and the UK and regularly fronts programmes for BBC Radio 3 and 4. She chairs the Gardens Panel of the National Trust and sits on the Parks and Gardens Panel of English Heritage.

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