Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Leonhard Fuchs and Herbals

Born: 1501, Wemding [Bavaria]
Died: 10 May 1566, Tübingen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1099-1


A learned physician, Leonhard Fuchs is mostly known for his illustrated herbal entitled De historia stirpium, first published in 1542. With this work (which preceded by one year De humani corporis fabrica of Andreas Vesalius), he is believed to have renewed the typically medieval genre of the herbal, although he also played a major role in other sectors of Renaissance medical production, including the revision of contemporary scientific (especially medical) literature on the basis of Greek classical texts in the way of Nicolao Leniceno. Nevertheless, his most significant contribution was his herbal and its illustrations, the text of which is in fact an assemblage of pieces translated from Greek and Latin classical literature on botany and materia medica (plants used for therapeutic uses) and the illustration drawings made on the basis of specimina collected in nature.

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Primary Literature

  1. Fuchs, Leonhard. 1542. De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis et vigiliis elaborati, adiectis earundem vivis plusquam quingentis imaginibus, numquam antea ad naturae imitationem artificiosius effectis et expressis, Basileae, in officina Isingrinana.Google Scholar
  2. Fuchs, Leonhard. 1543. New Kreüterbuch, in welchem nit allein die gantz histori das ist namen gestalt statt und zeit der wachsung, natur, kraft, und würkung des meysten theyls der Kreüter so in Teütschen unnd andern Landen wachsen mit dem besten vleiss beschriben, sonder auch aller derselben wurtzel, stengel, bletter, glumen, samen, frücht und in summa die gantze gestalt allso artlich und kunstlich abgebildet und contrafayt ist das dessgleichen vormals nie gesehen noch an tag kommen … Getruckt zu Basell.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Brinkhus, Gerd, and Claudine Pachnicke, eds. 2001. Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566). Mediziner and Botaniker. Tübingen: Universitätstadt Tübingen, Kulturamt, and Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Universitätsbibliothek.Google Scholar
  2. Harig, Georg. 1966. Leonhart Fuchs und die theoretische Pharmacologie der Antike (Zum 300. Totdestag von Leonhart Fuchs im Jahre 1966). NTM – Schriftenreihe für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 3, 74–104.Google Scholar
  3. Kusukawa, Sashiko. 2012. Picturing the book of nature. Image, text, and argument in sixteenth-century human anatomy and medical botany. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Samoggia, Luigi. 1964. Le ripercussioni in Germania dell’indirizzo filologico-medico leoniceniano della scuola ferrarese per opera di Leonardo Fuchs (Quaderni per la storia della Scienza e della Medicina 4). Ferrara: Università degli Studi di Ferrara.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for the Preservation of Medical TraditionsWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.The HuntingtonSan MarinoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hiro Hirai
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the History of Philosophy and ScienceRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands