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History of Plant Pathology

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Introduction to Plant Diseases


Plant diseases have been recognized for centuries. The ancient Romans worshipped Robigus, the god of wheat, and sacrificed red dogs to him at the Robigalia (a great festival) to save the grain from the destructive red dust. Aristotle, Plato’s student, recorded plant diseases as early as 350 B.C., and his colleague Theophrastus observed and speculated about diseases of cereals, legumes, and trees. Evidently, plant diseases were destructive in ancient times and the people lived in fear of famine. Thus, the belief in supernatural causes of plant diseases is not surprising. The idea of Divine punishment for human sins, as evidenced by the occurrence of plant disease and the resulting human suffering, is very old. This belief was encouraged by religious leaders who, because of their own ignorance, held similar beliefs and it also helped preserve the tradition of the infallibility of the Church. People blamed diseases on evil spirits, displeasure of the gods, or unfavorable positions of the stars or moons.

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© 1992 Springer US

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Lucas, G.B., Campbell, C.L., Lucas, L.T. (1992). History of Plant Pathology. In: Introduction to Plant Diseases. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-412-06961-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4615-7294-7

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

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