The discovery of the University of Pisa on the roots of botany


Western botany was born much earlier than we have imagined so far. It would sink its roots in ancient Egypt, long before the Greek or Roman. This is the thesis of the essay The herbaria of ancient Egypt" that the teacher Marilina Betrò University of Pisa wrote for the book "Naturalia and Artificialia: Plants and flowers in the experience of Egypt museological excavation and herbaria" just published in Spain.The essay rebuilds the "scientific" approach of the ancient Egyptian people towards the world of plants and highlights some of the information needed to deduce the existence of a previous botanical literature to much later herbaria demotic, Greek and Coptic. The hypothesis is that already at least around the middle of the second millennium BC They existed botanical reference texts as evidenced by the notes or descriptions of plants found already in the famous medical papyrus Ebers (ca. 1550 BC) and then at some later papyri. These descriptions have in fact a substantially homogeneous structure that fixed pattern apparently consolidated by a long scientific tradition and that includes the name of the plant, habitat description and the botany, the time and the way of collecting and side effects or harmful ."Despite the paucity of sources, problems related to technical vocabulary and the lack of specific studies - explains Marilina Betrò - you can still assume a vitality and continuity of herbal-botanical culture of ancient Egypt, which the Roman age herbaria and the sealed seam will then be destined to meet in the great medieval tradition. "In photos: Representations of plants and birds from the "Botanical Garden" of Karnak. (Photo by Marilina Betrò).Champollion and Rosellini, Monuments of Egypt and Nubia drawn from the scientific literature-Tuscan expedition to Egypt distributed in order of materials (Oxford Digital Liubraries)"


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