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Medieval Herbals and Kitchen Garden

The actual flower is the plant's highest fulfilment, and are not here exclusively for herbaria, county floras and plant geography: they are here first of all for delight. ~ John Ruskin

Gardens, Herbals, and Codices

Medieval Herbals

Tiles from a 16th Century Kitchen Garden - from illustrations by Ulisse Aldronvandi. Instructions for planting a medieval kitchen garden.

The Vienna Discorides - The Juliana Codex or Vienna Discorides is the oldest version of Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40-c. 90), a Greek physician from Anazarbus near Tarsus, a town renowned for the study of pharmacology at the time. Dioscorides worked as a surgeon with the army of Roman Emperor Nero, recording animals and sea creatures, as well as the existence and medicinal value of hundreds of plants, roots, seeds, herbs, and vines in southern Europe and northern Africa . About 70 A.D., he compiled that information into a five-volume work of medicinal herbs and attributes. The Vienna Discorides was used by physicians for more than 1500 years.

Voynich Manuscript tiles The Voynich manuscript was discovered in Italy in 1912 but has been dated to 1404-1420. For more than a century, scholars were unable to identify its language -- some argued that it was nonsense, there were theories that it is an alien journal written by extra-terrestrials visiting our planet. Scholars now believe its unknown language may be Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs.