Macer (c.1498)


De Viribus Herbarum was originally written in the eleventh century by Macer Floridus (a nom de plume) and is remarkable for being in Latin verse. Its contents are largely based on the herbals of classical Greece and Rome. The first printed edition (not illustrated) was produced in Naples in 1477 and is the earliest known printed herbal. The RBLA’s copy, printed at Geneva probably not long before 1498, is a modest-looking pocket-size book. It has a Gothic typeface and is illustrated with some sixty woodcuts, each in a small square. Though they are quite lively drawings, most are too crude and stylised to be of much help with plant recognition.