Corpus

The work we will be carried out on on four original corpora selected first for their relevance to the problem of the circulation of scientific knowledge through illustration, and second for their chronological, geographical and thematic diversity and representativeness:

  • Corpus 1: the Physiologus, written around the 2nd century CE in Alexandria, is one of the most popular texts of the Middle Ages, through which a medieval Christian zoology emerges. The original text is preserved in about 100 Greek manuscripts including 13 illustrated manuscripts, made between the 11th and 16th centuries (~680 images of animals, plants and minerals);
  • Corpus 2: the De materia medica of Dioscoride, composed around 77 CE, is a pharmacological sum for practitioners, which was widely distributed and widely copied. It is preserved in 65 Greek manuscripts, 17 of which (made between the 6th and 16th centuries) are illustrated (~8340 images of plants, animals, minerals) ;
  • Corpora 3 and 4: the plates of Diderot’s and D’Alembert’s Encyclopedia (1751-1772), their sources (covering a long series of treatises, dictionaries and encyclopaedias through which the illustrations were copied and reworked over the previous centuries) and their later inclusion in the next encyclopaedias (such as Encyclopédie méthodique). We will focus on Natural History (Zoology) (corpus 3) and mathematical sciences (corpus 4).

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