Item #5786 Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam
Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam
Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam
Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam
Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam
Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam
News of Drake’s Circumnavigation: “The First Published Account of the Voyage”
Sammelband of Rare First Editions by the Renowned Botanist Charles de l’Ecluse
[DRAKE, Francis] / CLUSIUS, Carolus [L’ECLUSE, Charles de].
Antwerp, Christopher Plantin, 1582.

Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam.

8vo. [16.3 x 10.8 cm], 43 pp, (1) p. colophon, (2) ff. integral blanks, with 15 woodcuts in the text. [Bound after:] CLUSIUS, Carolus. Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispanias observatarum historia. Antwerp, C. Plantin, 1576. 8vo. 529 pp., (1) p. blank verso, (7) ff. (final leaf an integral blank), with 233 woodcuts in the text. [And before:] MONARDES, Nicolas / CLUSIUS, Carolus, trans. Simplicium medicamentorum ex Novo Orbe delatorum, quorum in medicina usus est, historiae liber tertius. Antwerp, C. Plantin, 1582. 8vo. 47 pp. (1) p. blank verso. [And:] ACOSTA, Cristóbal / CLUSIUS, Carolus, trans. Aromatum & medicamentorum in Orientali India nascentium. Antwerp, C. Plantin, 1582. 8vo. 88 pp, with 2 woodcuts in the text. Half bound in 18th-century calf and marbled boards, lettering piece laid to spine, yellow edges. Lettering piece chipped, rubbing and edge wear to spine and boards, toning and annotations to endpapers. Bookplate inside upper cover and signature on title of the Rostock physician and botanist Georg Gustav Detharding (1765-1839), occasional contemporary annotations, occasional minor staining and toning, very minor marginal worming in the final leaves.

Rare first edition of the naturalist Charles de l’Ecluse’s (Carolus Clusius; 1526-1609) botany of Sir Francis Drake’s 1577-80 circumnavigation (the first by an Englishman), the first printed book in botanical literature to be substantially based on a specific trans-Atlantic voyage of any kind, and indeed the first substantial record of Drake’s achievement to be printed: “Clusius’s record of Drake’s botanical discoveries is notable as giving the first published account of the voyage” (Sir Francis Drake: An Exhibition, p. 66, no. 55). This landmark work is here bound with the first edition of L’Ecluse’s extensively illustrated monograph on the flora of the Iberian Peninsula and with 2 first editions of L’Ecluse’s important Latin translations of recent botanical/medicinal findings from the newly discovered lands, namely the third part of Nicolas Monardes’ work on New World medicinal plants and Cristóbal Acosta’s medical botany of the East Indies (see below for more information on these titles).

L’Ecluse’s Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam, illustrated with 13 full-page and 2 half-page woodcuts, opens with supplementary comments to his 1567 Latin translation of Garcia da Orta’s important volume on Indian plants (Coloquios dos Simples e Drogas, Goa, 1563) before moving on to, as stated in the subtitle, “accounts of observations made of some plants and other exotic things collected by the noble Englishman Sir Francis Drake and by those who accompanied him on the long journey he made in recent years around the world, and also of foreign products which the author received from his friends in London.” L’Ecluse was in London when Drake returned from his circumnavigation, and he received cuttings, seeds, roots, and aromatic fruits collected by Drake’s crew. After returning to Antwerp, he had Plantin print this work, which praises Drake and his men and describes the specimens they had given him, including notes on locations where items were acquired. Among the American plants described by l’Ecluse are the Mexican jasmine, cocoa, the drakena root, the fruit beretinus, and a piece of aromatic bark from the Strait of Magellan. L’Ecluse here also published the first full-length images of such topical plants as the betel, faufel palm, and a coconut palm laden with coconuts (Da Costa, p. 174).

L’Ecluse’s account of Drake’s voyage was preceded in print only by a handful of ballads and broadsides (now all but lost) and by Nicholas Breton’s 1581 A Discourse in Commendation of the Valiant as Vertuous Minded Gentleman ..., a generalized encomium considered “the earliest printed ‘celebration’ of the voyage now known (‘account’ would imply a more factual record)” (H. Wallis, p. 22), which survives today in only one copy (Library of Congress).

Bound in the present volume with the Aliquot notae in Garciae aromatum historiam are three further first editions of important botanical works by l’Ecluse printed in Antwerp by Plantin, two of which apparently were in press when news of Drake’s voyage was received. The first of these is l’Ecluse’s 1582 Latin translation of the 3rd book of renowned Seville physician Nicolás Monardes’ (1493-1588) Primera y Segunda y Tercera Partes de la Historia Medicinal (1574; the first book published in 1565, the second in 1571), the first printed work devoted to the botanical and medicinal discoveries made in the Americas and a treatise which would remain “for many years the most important work on the medicinal plants of the New World” (Garrison & Morton). L’Ecluse had translated the first two books of Monardes as De simplicibus medicamentis ex Occidentli India delatis in 1574, and it is through his Latin editions that much of the scientific community experienced Monardes’ discoveries.

Bound last in the present volume is the first edition of l’Ecluse’s Latin abridgement and translation of the Tractado de las drogas y medicinas de la indias orientales (1578) by Cristoval Acosta (1515-80), an important early text on East Indies plants which supplemented and introduced to a Spanish audience the fundamental work on the subject by the Portuguese botanist Garcia d’Orta, the Coloquios dos simples e drogas e consas medicinais da India (Goa, 1563). L’Ecluse’s Latin version of Acosta’s work was important for the wider dissemination of these findings.

Bound first in the present volume is l’Ecluse’s first original work, the first edition of his treatise on the flora of the Iberian Peninsula, extensively illustrated with 233 woodcuts.

* (1) Alden 582/52; Hunt 140; Nissen BBI 373; Voet 1010; Cushing L-114; Sabin 13800; (2) Hunt 125; Nissen BBI 370; Voet 1006; (3) Alden 582/57a; Voet 1712; Pritzel 6366; (4) Alden 582/25; Hunt 139; Voet 1038. Sir Francis Drake: An Exhibition to Commemorate Francis Drake’s Voyage around the World, 1577-1580, British Library, 1977, p. 66, no. 55; F. Egmond, “Figuring Exotic Nature in Sixteenth-Century Europe: Garcia de Orta and Carolus Clusius,” in P. F., Da Costa, ed., Medicine, Trade and Empire: Garcia de Orta’s Colloquies on the Simples and Drugs of India (1563) in Context, pp. 167-94; F. Egmond, The World of Carolus Clusius: Natural History in the Making, 1550-1610; K. van Ommen, ed., The Exotic World of Carolus Clusius (1526-1609); N. J. W. Thrower, ed., Sir Francis Drake and the Famous Voyage, 1577-80; H. Wallis, The voyage of Sir Francis Drake Mapped in Silver and Gold.


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