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(BSW) THE LINNAEUS APOSTLES

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  • Kathy Bilton
    From Pat Ford: Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 14:00:47 +0000 From: P2zamora@att.net Hi Kathy, The following article may be of interest to BSW members. THE LINNAEUS
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26 11:10 AM
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      From Pat Ford:

      Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 14:00:47 +0000
      From: P2zamora@...

      Hi Kathy,

      The following article may be of interest to BSW members.

      THE LINNAEUS APOSTLES_ 
      From: William A Weber [Bill.Weber@...] 

      During the 18th century, Linnaeus inspired 17 of his students to travel to
      the far corners of the earth to document local nature and culture. Their
      travel cover all of the known continents and they came to be known as the
      Linnean Apostles.

      The publication of a major international series of eight volumes — in all,
      11 books of narratives and approximately 5000 pages has been in preparation
      for a long time. All of the accounts are published here for the fist time in
      English; those who left no journals are described through available sources.
      A team of translators have sweat blood for decades to accomplish this
      enormous task. I have five of these books so far; they are intriguing and
      exciting accounts of what field work was like especially in South Africa,
      Japan, the South Pacific, and eastern North America. It is obvious that
      Linnaeus’ ties with Dutch botanists, especially their maritime fleets and
      colonies, made these trips possible. Captain Cook’s early explorations to
      the Antarctic and South Pacific Islands were important also.

      That these students were essentially trained in the botanical aspects of
      medicine gave these excursions an early example of what we now call "doctors
      without borders". They treated illnesses and made extensive notes on the
      medicinals used by the local people, at the same time collecting plants,
      insects, animals large and small, to fill the museums of Europe. They also
      made extensive lists of vocabularies, and illustrated landscapes and the
      large wild game animals of south Africa. Having experienced all this in
      situ, some really stinging but carefully respectful satire at times is
      directed at such famous closet-naturalists such as the celebrated M. Buffon.
      They are not dull. These books speak to us today.

      Volume 1 (Introduction) is the descriptive one. Here the reader will get a
      deeper understanding of the world in which Linnaeus and his apostles lived.
      The 18th century was both like and unlike our world today. It was during
      this era that the modern world first saw the light of day. The concluding
      volume 8 (Encyclopaedia) will include maps, a categorized index for all the
      volumes, biographical information on each apostle and a complete
      bibliography of all published material, and a list of the most important
      collections of scientific material in museums, archives, and libraries
      connected to the work of the apostles. The intervening books of narratives
      include those of Thunberg, Sparrmann, Kalm, Rolander, Hasselquist, Solander,
      and many others. Nothing like this has ever been attempted and is an
      important addition to the other publications arising from the recent
      celebration of Linnaeus’ birth. The volumes have given me at least a year’s
      amount of fascinating reading and education.

      Five of the 8-volume series is now available. For detailed information go to
      <www.ikfoundation.org>,  
      or <http://www.ikfoundation.org/linnaeus/volume-one.html>,  or write to IK
      Foundation & Company, P.O. Box 70, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 1YD, United
      Kingdom.
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