- I thought that this group might be interested in this exchange from another
group I'm on... Arastorm
>>Images from two 11th century herbals at Bodleian:Tchipakkan wrote:
> How frustrating! My daughters and I looked at those herbals and I don'tFunny you should mention that! I was just scanning through another book
> think we would recognise a quarter of the herbs that are identified as
> ones we use frequently and know well. Perhaps if we could read the
> text... I had heard about the difficulties of having herbals copied from
> Mediterranean examples, but I'd assumed that they'd have someone who
> knew something about the herbs doing the copying so that the
> illustrations at least would be clear. Sheesh! It's one thing to have
looking for "clothes clues." It's Gameson, Richard. "The Role of Art in
the Late Anglo-Saxon Church" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995). He has
this to say about herbals:
"...while the debt of Anglo-Saxon draughtsmen to Carolingian and other
sources was undoubtedly great, none the less after the mid-tenth century
they reformulated the images that influenced them with increasing
confidence in order to make them their own. If some Carolingian artists
tried to revive Classical and late Antique modes of pictorial
representation, many Anglo-Saxon artists...set out to 'modernize' them.
In this context it is worth reflecting that the criticism which
is levelled at the stylized illustrations in early-medieval herbals by
some botanically minded commentators (or by commentators who just assume
that naturalism is a primary aim of the artists) is not entirely just.
The stylization was, no doubt, partly the accidental result of
repeatedly copying from models rather than from nature, and judged as
aids to the identification of the species, the pictures in Anglo-Saxon
and Romanesque herbals are indeed less helpful that those in the
earliest known examples of the genre such as the Vienna Dioscorides.
Nevertheless, bearing in mind that some of these plants would have been
unobtainable in the North, we should also recognize that the changes
could be partly a positive reinterpretation in the light of contemporary
taste. These later depictions are significantly more decorative than
their Antique precursors; they thus accord more nearly with contemporary
canons of manuscript art, and were no doubt appreciated as such." (pp.13-14)
How much have other SCA herbalists looked at early herbals? (back during the
hand copied period?)
Arastorm the Golden
Lady of Stormgard
I don't come in here very often, and when I do, I just scan quickly
and move on. But, I want to say that this attachment you sent is
WONDERFUL. Thank you. Having something that show that plants were
written about in a certain timeframe gives some idea of how popular
the use during there time. About 90 percent of them are familar to
me and this will add to my folklore research on plants and herbs.
Even though not all of them have their common names listed or some of
those that are listed are not known to me, having the latin name is
far better. Any plant can be traced by its latin name.
Again, thank you.