An exhilarating new book from the author of the worldwide bestseller The Tulip.
The Naming of Names traces the search for order in the natural world, a search that for hundreds of years occupied some of the most brilliant minds in Europe.
Redefining man’s relationship with nature was a major pursuit during the Renaissance. But in a world full of poisons, there was also an urgent practical need to name and recognize different plants, because most medicines were made from plant extracts.
Anna Pavord takes us on a thrilling adventure into botanical history, traveling from Athens in the third century BC, through Constantinople, Venice, the medical school at Salerno to the universities of Pisa and Padua. The journey, traced here for the first time, involves the culture of Islam, the first expeditions to the Indies and the first settlers in the New World.
In Athens, Aristotle’s pupil Theophrastus was the first man ever to write a book about plants. How can we name, sort, and order them? He asked. The debate continues still, two thousand years later. Sumptuously illustrated in full colour, The Naming of Names gives a compelling insight into a world full of intrigue and intensely competitive egos.