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Last edited by DAVID H J GAY
November 21, 2011 | History

Historia animalium: In ten books. 48 editions

Cover of: Historia animalium by Henry Fielding
About the Book

The Historiae animalium was Gesner's magnum opus, and was the most widely read of all the Renaissance natural histories. The work was so popular that Gesner's abridgement, Thierbuch ("Animal Book"), was published in Zurich in 1563, and in England Edward Topsell translated and condensed it as a Historie of foure-footed beastes (London: William Jaggard, 1607). Gesner’s monumental work is a record that attempts to build a connection between the ancient knowledge of the animal world and modern science. He then adds his own observations to formulate an all-inclusive description of the natural history of animals.
Gesner’s Historiae animalium is based on the Old Testament, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin sources. The encyclopedic work is a compilation from folklore and ancient and medieval texts. The work compiled the inherited knowledge of ancient naturalists like Aristotle, Pliny and Aelian. Gesner was known as "the Swiss Pliny."For information on mythical animals he relied heavily on the material from the Physiologus. His research style was based on four principles: observation, dissection, travel, and an accurate description of the animals. These viewpoints from actual experience were new to Renaissance scholars. They had usually depended on information obtained solely on previous Classical authors for their reference material.
Though in his large work Gesner sought to distinguish facts from myths, his encyclopedic work also included mythical creatures and imaginary beasts, intermixed with the strange newly discovered animals of the East Indies, those of the far north and animals brought back from the New World. The work included extensive information on mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. It described in detail their daily habits and movements. It also included their uses in medicine and nutrition. Historiae animalium showed the animals' places in history, literature and art. Sections of each chapter detailed the animal and its attributes, in the tradition of the emblem book. Gesner's work included facts in different languages such as the names of the animals. His information drew from folktales, myths, and legends. The colored woodcut illustrations were the first real attempts to represent animals in their natural environment. It is the first book with fossil illustrations.
Gesner acknowledges one of his main illustrators was Lucas Schan, an artist from Strasbourg. He likely used other illustrators as well as himself. Gesner's approach to natural history was unusual for sixteenth century readers - it contained illustrations and pictures.
The first volume is an illustrated work on live-bearing four-footed animals. Volume 2 is on egg-laying quadrupeds. Volume 3 is on birds. Volume 4 is on fish and aquatic animals. A fifth volume, on snakes and scorpions, was published in 1587, after Gesner’s death.
There was extreme religious tension at the time Historiae animalium came out. Under Pope Paul IV it was felt that the religious convictions of an author contaminated all his writings,[4] so it was added to the Catholic Church's list of prohibited books. Gesner was Protestant.

6 Lists See all

48 editions First published in 1476

Edition Read Borrow Buy
Cover of: Historia animalium
Publisher unknown
Historia animalium
Cover of: Histoire des animaux
Publish date unknown, Les Belles lettres
Histoire des animaux
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Theodori Graeci Thessalonicensis Praefatio in libros De animalibvs
1476, Iohannem de Colonia, Iohannē Māthen de Gberretzē
Theodori Graeci Thessalonicensis Praefatio in libros De animalibvs
Microform in Latin - [1st ed.]
Cover of: De animalibus historia.
1498, Bartholomaeus de Zanis, for Octavianus Scotus
De animalibus historia.
Microform in Latin
Cover of: Aristotelis Stagiritae De historia animalivm lib. IX, De partibvs animalivm, et earvm cavsis libri IIII, De generation animalivm libri V.
Cover of: Aristotelous Peri zōōn historias biblia deka =
1587, Apud Andreae Wecheli heredes, Claudium Marnium, & Ioannem Aubrium
Aristotelous Peri zōōn historias biblia deka =
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Aristotelous Peri zōōn historias.
1619, Typis R. Colomerij, typographi regij
Aristotelous Peri zōōn historias.
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Aristotelis De animalibus historiae libri X, Graece et Latine
1811, in Bibliopolio Hahniano
Aristotelis De animalibus historiae libri X, Graece et Latine
in Multiple languages
Cover of: Historia animalium
1829, Impensis Ge. Reimeri
Historia animalium
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Fünf Bücher von der Zeugung und Entwickelung der Thiere
Cover of: Fünf Bücher von der Zeugung und Entwickelung der Thiere
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals.
1862, H. G. Bohn
Aristotle's History of animals.
in English
Cover of: Aristotelous Peri zōōn historias biblia VIII
1863, Firmin Didot frères, fils et cie
Aristotelous Peri zōōn historias biblia VIII
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals.
Cover of: Aristotle's history of animals
1883, George Bell
Aristotle's history of animals
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals.
1887, Bell
Aristotle's History of animals.
in English
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals
1887, Bell
Aristotle's History of animals
in English
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals
1891, George Bell
Aristotle's History of animals
in English
Cover of: Histoire des animaux
1900, les Belles lettres
Histoire des animaux
in French
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals.
1902, G. Bell
Aristotle's History of animals.
in English
Cover of: History of animals in ten books.
Cover of: Aristotle's History of animals
1907, G. Bell & Sons
Aristotle's History of animals
in English
Cover of: Aristotelis De animalibus historia.
1907, In aedibus B. G. Teubneri
Aristotelis De animalibus historia.
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Histoire des animaux.
1957, J. Vrin
Histoire des animaux.
in French
Cover of: Histoire des animaux [par] Aristote.
1964, Belles lettres
Histoire des animaux [par] Aristote.
in French
Cover of: Histoire des animaux.
1964, Les Belles lettres
Histoire des animaux.
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium
1965, Heinemann
Historia animalium
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: Historia animalium.
1965, Heinemann, Harvard University Press
Historia animalium.
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium.
1965, Harvard University Press
Historia animalium.
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium
1965, Harvard Univ. Press
Historia animalium
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium.
1965, Heinemann
Historia animalium.
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium
1965, Heinemann
Historia animalium
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium
1965, Harvard University Press
Historia animalium
in English
Cover of: History of animals
1965, Harvard University Press
History of animals
in Multiple languages
Cover of: History of animals
1965, Harvard University Press
History of animals
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium
1970, W. Heinemann, Harvard University Press
Historia animalium
in English
Cover of: Historia animalium
1970, Heinemann
Historia animalium
in Multiple languages
Cover of: History of animals
1970, Harvard University Press
History of animals
in Multiple languages
Cover of: Ṭibāʻ al-ḥayawān
1977, Wikālat al-maṭbūʻāt
Ṭibāʻ al-ḥayawān
in Arabic - al-Ṭabʻah 1.
Cover of: Ṭibāʻ al-ḥayawān
1977, Wakālat al-Maṭbūʻāt
Ṭibāʻ al-ḥayawān
in Arabic - al-Ṭabʻah 1. --
Cover of: Historia animalium
1979, Harvard University Press, Heinemann
Historia animalium
in Ancient Greek
Cover of: al- Maqālah al-rābiʻah ʻasharah min Kitāb Ṭabāʼiʻ al-ḥayawān al-ḅaḥrī wa-al-barrī
Cover of: History of animals.
1991, Harvard University Press
History of animals.
in English
Cover of: History of animals
1991, Harvard University Press
History of animals
in Multiple languages
Cover of: De historia animalium.
2000, E. J. Brill
De historia animalium.
in Latin
Cover of: Historia animalium
2002, Cambridge University Press
Historia animalium
in English
Cover of: History Of Animals
June 30, 2004, Kessinger Publishing
History Of Animals
Paperback in English
Cover of: History of Animals
November 30, 2005, Adamant Media Corporation
History of Animals
Paperback in English

History Created October 19, 2009 · 14 revisions
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January 14, 2014 Edited by DAVID H J GAY merge authors
January 14, 2014 Edited by DAVID H J GAY merge authors
January 14, 2014 Edited by DAVID H J GAY merge authors
November 28, 2012 Edited by AnandBot Fixed spam edits.
October 19, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page