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Löwen, Liebstöckel und Lügensteine: Illustrierte Naturbücher seit Konrad von Megenberg
Konrad von Megenberg is considered a late medieval pioneer of German scientific prose directed at a lay audience. On the occasion of his seven-hundredth birthday, Heidelberg University Library devoted an exhibition to his best-known work, “buch von den natürlichen dingen”, also known as “Buch der Nature” (“book of natural things”or “Book of Nature”), a prototype of illustrated natural history books. The Heidelberg Bibliotheca Palatina comprises as many as four medieval manuscripts of this work. Two of these manuscripts are richly illustrated.
According to the medieval scholastic worldview, Konrad von Mengenberg starts his investigation with humans and the cosmos, before systematically organizing “the natural things” of the three kingdoms of nature – zoology, botany, and geology. In the late Middle Ages the tradition of this work was combined with memorable illustrations. Like the texts, they were based on a long tradition and were themselves widely received until the modern era.
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