The genesis of the specialisation of the sciences: botany as a new field of knowledge in the thirteenth century.

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YAVUZ M. , Herraiz Oliva P.

From Quadrivium to Natural Sciences: New Impulses in the Traditional Framework, Ostrava, Czech Republic, 15 November 2018, pp.15

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Ostrava
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Page Numbers: pp.15


The reception of the translations of the works of Aristotle at the University of Paris in the thirteenth century promoted a new understanding of the sciences as specialised fields of knowledge. The huge amount of translations required a new organisation of knowledge, which included novel subjects and categories. This had, as a result, a progressive abandonment of the trivium and the quadrivium, which can be seen in the new curriculum at the University of Paris which has survived in MS. Ripoll 109, Archivo de la Corona de Aragón.          

Both Aristotelian and pseudo-Aristotelian works were translated. Among these there is a very special case, namely the pseudo-Aristotelian De plantis, translated from Arabic into Latin and then back into Greek. De Plantis was included in the new curriculum in Ripoll 109, and constituted the main source for botanical studies until the sixteenth century. Its popularity in the Middle Ages can be seen from its 158 surviving copies. Throughout this paper we will explore the reception and impact of the De Plantis in both the Islamicate World and the Latin Western tradition. We aim to show its foundational role in the development of empirical investigation and of botany as a new discipline within the natural sciences.