Woodcuts and Wood-Engravings
Prosper Alpini (1553-1617)
De medicina Aegyptiorum libri qutuor...
Paris: Nicolaus Redelichuysen, 1645
Prosper, or Prospero, Alpini was an Italian physician and botanist. He studied medicine at the University of Padua and became a practicing physician in a small Paduan town. However, his real interests were in botany and this led him to travel to Egypt in 1580, where he served as physician to George Emo, the Venetian Consul to Egypt. While there, his study of date palms led to his discoveries in the sexual differences of plants. Not long after his return to Padua, he was made professor of botany at the University of Padua.
His best-known work is De Plantis Aegypti liber (Venice, 1592). His De Medicina Egyptiorum (Venice, 1591) is said to contain the first account of the coffee plant published in Europe. The same work introduced the banana and baobab to Europeans. Seen here is a woodcut illustration from a 1645 edition of De Medicina Egyptiorum.
Page 101 of the 1645 edition of Alpini
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