Collections of Natural Curiosities

If it be true that the written accounts which those who had recovered from sickness caused to be drawn out of their cure, their disorder, and the medicines employed to remove it, and to be hung up in the temples, particularly that of Æsculapius, were the first collections of medical observations 838 , as seems to appear by the testimony of Hippocrates, who did not disdain to make use of them in order to acquire information 839 ; we have every reason to conjecture, that the rare animals, plants and minerals, generally preserved in the temples also, were the first collections of natural curiosities, and that they may have contributed as much to promote the knowledge of natural history, as those tablets to improve the art of medicine. Natural objects of uncommon size or beauty, and other rare productions, on which nature seemed to have exerted her utmost power, were in the earliest periods consecrated to the gods 840. They were conveyed to the temples, where their value became still enhanced by the sacredness and antiquity of the place; where they continued more and more to excite respect and awaken curiosity, and where they were preserved as memorials to the latest generations, with the same reverence as the other furniture of these buildings. In the course of time these natural curiosities dedicated to the gods became so numerous, that they formed collections which may be called large for those periods, and for the infant state in which natural history then was.

When Hanno returned from his distant voyages, he brought with him to Carthage two skins of the hairy women whom he found on the Gorgades islands, and deposited them as a memorial in the temple of Juno, where they continued till the destruction of the city 841. The horns of a Scythian animal, in which the Stygian water that destroyed every other vessel could be contained, were sent by Alexander as a curiosity to the temple of Delphi, where they were suspended, with an inscription, which has been preserved by Ælian 842 . The monstrous horns of the wild bulls which had occasioned so much devastation in Macedonia, were by order of king Philip hung up in the temple of Hercules. The unnaturally formed shoulder-bones of Pelops were deposited in the temple of Elis 843. The horns of the so-called Indian ants were shown in the temple of Hercules at Erythræ844 ; and the crocodile found in attempting to discover the sources of the Nile was preserved in the temple of Isis at Cæsarea 845 . A large piece of the root of the cinnamon-tree was kept in a golden vessel in one of the temples at Rome, where it was examined by Pliny 846. The skin of that monster which the Roman army in Africa attacked and destroyed, and which probably was a crocodile, an animal common in that country, but never seen by the Romans before the Punic war, was by Regulus sent to Rome, and hung up in one of the temples, where it remained till the time of the Numantine war 847. In the temple of Juno, in the island of Melita, there were a pair of elephant's teeth of extraordinary size, which were carried away by Masinissa's admiral, and transmitted to that prince, who, though he set a high value upon them, sent them back again because he heard they had been taken from a temple 848. The head of a basilisc was exhibited in one of the temples of Diana 849 ; and the bones of that sea-monster, probably a whale, to which Andromeda was exposed, were preserved at Joppa, and afterwards brought to Rome 850. In the time of Pausanias, the head of the celebrated Calydonian boar was shown in one of the temples of Greece; but it was then destitute of bristles, and had suffered considerably by the hand of time. The monstrous tusks of this animal were brought to Rome, after the defeat of Antony, by the emperor Augustus, who caused them to be suspended in the temple of Bacchus 851. Apollonius tells us, that he saw in India some of those nuts which in Greece were preserved in the temples as curiosities 852.

It is certain, however, that all these articles, though preserved in the temples of the ancients as rarities or memorials of remarkable events, or as objects calculated to silence unbelief, were not properly kept there for the purpose to which our collections of natural curiosities are applied; but at the same time it must be allowed that they might be of as much utility to naturalists, as the tablets, in which patients who had recovered thanked the gods for their cures, were to physicians.

We are told by Suetonius, that the emperor Augustus had in his palace a collection of natural curiosities 853. I, however, do not remember that any of the ancient naturalists make mention of their own private collections; though it is well known that Alexander gave orders to all huntsmen, bird-catchers, fishermen and others, to send to Aristotle whatever animals they could procure 854 ; and although Pliny was accustomed to make observations on such as he had an opportunity of seeing. No doubt can be entertained that a collection of natural curiosities was formed by Apuleius, who, next to Aristotle and his scholar Theophrastus, certainly examined natural objects with the greatest ardour and judgement; who caused animals of every kind, and particularly fish, to be brought to him either dead or alive, in order to describe their external and internal parts, their number and situation, and to determine their characteristic peculiarities, and assign names to them; who undertook distant journeys to become acquainted with the secrets of nature; and who on the Getulian mountains collected petrifactions, which he considered as the effects of Deucalion's flood. It is much to be lamented that the zoological works of this learned and ingenious man have been lost.

The principal cause why collections of natural curiosities were scarce in ancient times, must have been the ignorance of naturalists in regard to the proper means of preserving such bodies as soon spoil or corrupt. Some methods were indeed known and practised, but they were all defective and inferior to that by spirit of wine, which prevents putrefaction, and which by its perfect transparency permits objects covered by it to be at all times viewed and examined. These methods were the same as those employed to preserve provisions, or the bodies of great men deceased. They were put into salt brine or honey, or were covered over with wax.

It appears that in the earliest periods bodies were preserved from corruption by means of salt 855 , and that this practice was long continued. We are told that Pharnaces caused the body of his father Mithridates to be deposited in salt brine, in order that he might transmit it to Pompey 856. Eunapius, who lived in the fifth century, relates that the monks preserved the heads of the martyrs by means of salt 857 ; and we are informed by Sigebert, who died in 1113, that a like process was pursued with the body of St. Guibert, that it might be kept during a journey in summer 858. In the same manner the priests preserved the sow which afforded a happy omen to Æneas, by having brought forth a litter of thirty pigs, as we are told by Varro, in whose time the animal was still shown at Lavinium 859. A hippocentaur (probably a monstrous birth), caught in Arabia, was brought alive to Egypt; and as it died there, it was, after being preserved in salt brine, sent to Rome to the emperor, and deposited in his collection, where it was shown in the time of Pliny, and in that of Phlegon 860. Another hippocentaur was preserved by the like method, and transmitted to the emperor Constantine at Antioch 861 ; and a large ape of the species called Pan, sent by the Indians to the emperor Constantius, happening to die on the road by being shut up in a cage, was placed in salt, and in that manner conveyed to Constantinople 862. This method of preserving natural objects has been even employed in modern times to prevent large bodies from being affected by corruption. The hippopotamus described by Columna was sent to him from Egypt preserved in salt 863.

To put dead bodies in honey, for the purpose of securing them from putrefaction, is an ancient practice 864 , and was used at an early period by the Assyrians 865. The body of Agesipolis king of Sparta, who died in Macedonia, was sent home in honey 866 , as were also the bodies of Agesilaus 867  and Aristobulus 868. The faithless Cleomenes caused the head of Archonides to be put in honey, and had it always placed near him when he was deliberating upon any affair of great importance, in order to fulfil the oath he had made to undertake nothing without consulting his head 869. According to the account of some authors, the body of Alexander the Great was deposited in honey 870 , though others relate that it was embalmed according to the manner of the Egyptians 871. The body of the emperor Justin II. was also placed in honey mixed with spices 872. The wish of Democritus to be buried in honey 873 is likewise a confirmation of this practice. Honey was often applied in ancient times to purposes for which we use sugar. It was employed for preserving fruit 874 ; and this process is not disused at present. In order to preserve fresh for many years the celebrated purple dye of the ancients, honey was poured over it 875 , and certain worms useful in medicine were kept free from corruption by the like means 876. By the same method also were natural curiosities preserved, such as the hippocentaur already mentioned; and it has been employed in later times, as is proved by the account given by Alexander ab Alexandro 877 , respecting the supposed mermen.

Among the Scythians 878 Assyrians 879 , and Persians 880 , dead bodies were covered over with wax. That of Agesilaus, because honey could not be procured, was preserved in this manner 881 , which indeed ought not to be despised even at present. When the Orientals are desirous of transporting fish to any distance, they cover them over with wax 882 ; and the apples carried every year to the northern parts of Siberia and Archangel, from the southern districts of Russia, are first dipped in melted wax, which, by forming a thick coat around them, keeps out the air, and prevents them from spoiling. This property has in my opinion given rise to the ancient custom of wrapping up in wax-cloth the dead bodies of persons of distinction. Linen, or perhaps silk, which had been done over with wax, was used on such occasions, but not what we at present distinguish by the name of wax-cloth, which is only covered with an oil-varnish in imitation of the real kind. The body of St. Ansbert, we are told, was wrapped up linteo cerato ; and a camisale ceratum 883  was drawn over the clothes which covered that of St. Udalric. When Philip duke of Burgundy died in 1404, his body was wrapped up in thirty-two ells de toile cirée 884 . In an ancient record, respecting the ceremony to be used in burying the kings of England, it is ordered that the body shall be wrapped up in wax-cloth 885. In the year 1774, when the grave of king Edward I., who died in 1307, was opened, the body was found so closely wrapped up in wax-cloth, that one could perfectly distinguish the form of the hand, and the features of the countenance 886. The body of Johanna, mother of Edward the Black Prince, who died in 1359, was also wrapped up in cerecloth ; and in like manner the body of Elizabeth Tudor, the second daughter of Henry VII., was cered by the wax-chandler 887 . After the death of George II., the apothecary was allowed one hundred and fifty-two pounds for fine double wax-cloth, and other articles necessary to embalm the body 888. The books found in the grave of Numa, as we learn from the Roman historians, though they had been buried more than five hundred years, were, when taken up, so entire, that they looked as if perfectly new, because they had been closely surrounded with wax-candles. Wax-cloth it is probable was not then known at Rome 889.

In those centuries usually called the middle ages, I find no traces of collections of this nature, except in the treasuries of emperors, kings and princes, where, besides articles of great value, curiosities of art, antiquities and relics, one sometimes found scarce and singular foreign animals, which were dried and preserved. Such objects were to be seen in the old treasury at Vienna; and in that of St. Denis was exhibited the claw of a griffin, sent by the king of Persia to Charlemagne; the teeth of the hippopotamus, and other things of the like kind 890. In these collections the number of the rarities always increased in proportion as a taste for natural history became more prevalent, and as the extension of commerce afforded better opportunities for procuring the productions of remote countries. Menageries were established to add to the magnificence of courts, and the stuffed skins of rare animals were hung up as memorials of their having existed. Public libraries also were made receptacles for such natural curiosities as were from time to time presented to them; and as in universities the faculty of medicine had a hall appropriated for the dissection of human bodies, curiosities from the animal kingdom were collected there also by degrees; and it is probable that the professors of anatomy first made attempts to preserve different parts of animals in spirit of wine, as they were obliged to keep them by them for the use of their pupils; and because in old times dead bodies were not given up to them as at present, and were more difficult to be obtained.

At a later period collections of natural curiosities began to be formed by private persons. The object of them at first appears to have been rather to gratify the sight than to improve the understanding; and they contained more rarities of art, valuable pieces of workmanship and antiquities, than productions of nature. It is certain that such collections were first made in places where many families had been enriched without much labour by trade and manufactures, and who, it is likely, might wish to procure to themselves consequence and respect by expending money in this manner. It is not improbable that such collections were formed, though not first, as Stetten thinks 891 , at a very early period at Augsburg, and this taste was soon spread into other opulent cities and states.

Private collections, however, appear for the first time in the sixteenth century; and there is no doubt that they were formed by every learned man who at that period applied to the study of natural history. Among these were Hen. Cor. Agrippa of Nettesheim; Nic. Monardes, Paracelsus, Val. Cordus 892 , Hier. Cardan, Matthiolus, 1577; Conrad Gesner, George Agricola, 1555 893 ; Pet. Bellon, 1564; W. Rondelet, 1566; Thurneisser 894 ; Abraham Ortelius, 1598 895 ; and many others. That such collections were formed also in England 896  during the above century, is proved by the catalogue which Hakluyt used for his works.

The oldest catalogues of private collections which I remember, are the following: Samuel Quickelberg, a physician from Antwerp, who about the year 1553 resided at Ingolstadt, and was much esteemed by the duke of Bavaria, published in quarto at Munich in 1565, Inscriptiones vel Tituli Theatri Amplissimi, complectentis Rerum Universitatis singulas Materias et Imagines. This pamphlet contained only the plan of a large work, in which he intended to give a description of all the rarities of nature and art. I have never had an opportunity of seeing it. I am acquainted only with a copious extract from it, which induces me to doubt whether Walch was right in giving it out as a catalogue of the author's collection 897.

The same year, 1565, John Kentmann, a learned physician in Torgau, sent a catalogue of his collection, which consisted principally of minerals and shells, to Conrad Gesner, who caused it to be printed 898. The order observed in it is principally borrowed from Agricola. This collection, however, was not extensive. It was contained in a cabinet composed of thirteen drawers, each divided lengthwise into two partitions, and the number of the articles, among which, besides minerals, there were various productions found in mines and marine bodies, amounted to about sixteen hundred. It must however have been considerable for that period, as the collector tells us he laid out sums in forming it which few could be able to expend 899 ; and as Jacob Fabricius, in order to see it, undertook a journey from Chemnitz to Torgau 900. About this time lived in France that ingenious and intelligent potter, Bernard Palissy, who collected all kinds of natural and artificial rarities, and published a catalogue of them, which he made his guide in the study of natural history 901. Michael Mercati, a physician, who was contemporary, formed also in Italy a large collection of natural curiosities, and wrote a very copious description of them, which was first printed about the beginning of the last century 902. The collection of Ferdinand Imperati, a Neapolitan, the description of which was printed for the first time in 1599, belongs to the same period; and likewise the large collection of Fran. Calceolari of Verona, the catalogue of which was first printed in 1584 903. Walch and some others mention the catalogue of Brackenhoffer's collection as one of the earliest, but it was printed for the first time only in 1677.

[The Tradescants , father and son, are celebrated as being among the first collectors of rarities in this country, which they deposited during their lives in a large house situate in the parish of Lambeth. This became a place of fashionable resort from the curiosities it contained, and obtained the appellation of Tradescant's ark. A catalogue of its contents was printed in 1656 under the title of Museum Tradescantium. In 1659 this collection was purchased by Elias Ashmole , who presented it, together with his books, MSS., and other rarities, to the University of Oxford in 1683, thereby commencing the now celebrated Ashmolean Museum.

About the same period, James Petiver , still celebrated for his curious and interesting botanical publications, made extensive collections of natural curiosities, employing captains, ship-surgeons, merchants, &c. to bring him whatever they could find suitable to his museum, at almost any cost. He kept up an extensive correspondence in pursuit of this object, and eventually formed one of the finest collections hitherto made in England. At his death it was purchased by that celebrated naturalist, Sir Hans Sloane , and thus became the foundation of perhaps the most important collection in Europe—the British Museum.

Sir Hans Sloane, after having accompanied the duke of Albemarle to Jamaica as physician, was elected on his return to this country to succeed Sir Isaac Newton as president of the Royal Society. He was born in 1660, and died on the 11th of January, 1752. Having with great labour and expense during the course of his long life collected a rich cabinet of medals, objects of natural history, &c., and a valuable library of books and MSS., he bequeathed the whole to the public on condition that the sum of £20,000 should be paid to his executors, being little more than the intrinsic value of the medals, metallic ores and precious stones comprised in his collection. Parliament fulfilled the terms of the legacy, and in 1753 an act was passed “for the purchase of the museum or collection of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart. and of the Harleian collection of MSS., and for procuring one general repository for the better reception and more convenient use of the said collection, and of the Cottonian library and additions thereto.” Such was the commencement of the British Museum, every department of which has since been vastly augmented. The printed books alone occupy Ten Miles  of Shelf , and owing to our connexions with every part of the globe, it vies in the variety and number of objects of natural history with the most celebrated museums of the world. The interest taken in these collections by the public is evident from the number of persons who visited them from Christmas 1844 to Christmas 1845, amounting to no less than 685,614.

Nor should we omit to mention the collection of curiosities, &c. formed by James Salter , more commonly known by the name of Don Saltero. They were exhibited to the public at his Coffee-house, Cheyne-Walk, Chelsea, which was first opened about the year 1695. It was a very mixed collection of saints' bones, models, carved ivory, and objects of natural history. The following announcement, printed in the Weekly Journal for June 22, 1723, may be regarded as containing the most positive and authentic information concerning this establishment, inasmuch as it appears to have been sanctioned by the proprietor himself.

Sir.—Fifty years since to Chelsea Great,—
From Rodman, on the Irish Main,—
I stroll'd, with maggots in my pate,
Where, much improved, they still remain.
Through various employs I've past,—
A scraper, virtuos', projector,
Tooth-drawer, trimmer,—and at last
I'm now a gim-crack-whim collector.
Monsters of all sorts here are seen,
Strange things in nature as they grew so:
Some relicks of the Sheba Queen,
And fragments of the famed Bob Crusoe.
Knick-knacks, too, dangle round the wall,
Some in glass-cases, some on shelf;
But, what's the rarest sight of all,
Your humble servant shows Himself.
On this my chiefest hope depends,
Now, if you will my cause espouse,
In journals pray direct your friends
To my Museum—Coffee-house.
And, in requital for the timely favour,
I'll gratis bleed, draw teeth, and be your shaver:
Nay, that your pate may with my noddle tarry,
And you shine bright as I do,—Marry! shall ye
Freely consult your Revelation—Molly,
Nor shall one jealous thought a huff,
For she has taught me manners long enough.
Chelsea Knackatory.    Don Saltero.

A fine engraving of Salter's house, with a description and catalogue of his collection, will be found in Smith's Historical and Literary Curiosities.]


838  Fragments of such inscriptions have been collected by Mercurialis in his work De Arte Gymnastica, lib. i. cap. 1.

839  Plin. lib. xxix. cap. 1. Strabo, lib. xiv.

840  Plin. lib. xii. cap. 2.

841  Plin. lib. vi. cap. 31.

842  Hist. Anim. lib. x. cap. 40.

843  Plin. lib. xxviii. cap. 4.

844  Plin. lib. xi. cap. 31.

845  Plin. lib. v. cap. 9. This crocodile was still remaining in the author's time.

846  Lib. xii. cap. 19.

847  Plin. lib. viii. cap. 12. Valer. Max. lib. i. cap. 8. Orosius, lib. iv. cap. 8. Jul. Obsequens de prodigiis, cap. 29. Hujus serpentis maxillæ usque ad Numantinum bellum in publico pependisse dicuntur. May not this animal have been the Boa constrictor?

848  Cicero in Verrem, iv. cap. 46. Valer. Max. lib. i.

849  Scaliger De Subtilit. lib. xv. exercit. 246.

850  Plin. lib. ix. cap. 5, and v. 13. 31. Strabo, lib. xvi.

851  Pausanias, in Arcadicis, cap. 46 and 47.

852  Philostrat. in Vita Apollon. lib. iii. cap. 5. I conjecture that these nuts were cocoa-nuts.

853  Vita Augusti, c. 72.

854  Plin. lib. viii. cap. 16.

855  Plin. lib. xxxi. cap. 9. Isidorus Origin. lib. xvi. cap. 2. Nitre also was employed for the like purpose. Plin. lib. xxxi. cap. 10. Herodot. lib. ii. Sextus Empiricus in Pyrrhon. Hypotypos. cap. 24. The last author ascribes this custom to the Persians in particular.

856  Dion Cassius, lib. xxxvii. cap. 14. See the Life of Pompey in Plutarch, who adds that the countenance of Mithridates could no longer be distinguished, because the persons who embalmed the body in this manner had forgotten to take out the brain.

857  Eunapius in Ædesio.

858  In Acta sancti Guiberti, cap. 6.

859  Varro De Re Rustica, lib. ii. cap. 4.

860  Phlegon Trallian. De Mirabil. cap. 34, 35, adopts in his account the same expression as that used in the Geoponica, lib. xix. cap. 9, respecting the preservation of the flesh. Pliny however says, lib. vii. cap. 3, “Nos principatu Claudii Cæsaris allatum illi ex Ægypto hippocentaurum in melle vidimus.” Perhaps it was placed in honey after its arrival at Rome, in order that it might be better preserved.

861  See Hieronymi Vita Pauli Eremitæ.

862  Philostorgii Historia Ecclesiastica, 1643, 4to, p. 41.

863  Columnæ Aquatil. et Terrestr. Observat. cap. 15.

864  Plin. lib. xxii. cap. 24.

865  Strabo, lib. xvi.

866  Xenophon, Rer. Græc. lib. v.

867  Diodorus Siculus, lib. xv.

868  Josephi Antiq. Jud. lib. xiv. c. 13. De Bello Jud. lib. i. c. 7.

869  Æliani Var. Hist. lib. xii. cap. 8.

870  Statius, Silv. iii. 2.

871  Curtius, lib. x. cap. 10.

872  Corippus De Laudibus Justini II.

873  Varro, in Nonius, cap. iii. The following words of Lucretius, b. iii. ver. 902, “aut in melle situm suffocari,” allude perhaps to the above circumstance.

874  Columella, xii. 45. Apicii Ars Coquinar. lib. i. cap. 20.

875  Plutarch in the Life of Alexander relates, that among other valuables in the treasury at Susa, that conqueror found 5000 talents of the purple dye, which was perfectly fresh, though nearly two hundred years old, and that its preservation was ascribed to its being covered with honey. This account is well illustrated in Mercurialis Var. Lect. lib. vi. cap. 26.

876  Plin. lib. xxix. cap. 4.

877  Dier. Genial. lib. iii. cap. 8.

878  Herodot. lib. iv. cap. 71.

879  Θάπτουσι δ' ἐν μέλιτι, κηριῳ περιπλάσαντες. Sepeliunt in melle, cera cadavere oblito. The bodies therefore were first covered with wax, and then deposited in honey.

880  Herodot. lib. i. cap. 140. Cicero, Tusc. Quæst. lib. i. Alexandri ab Alexan. Dier. Genial. lib. iii. cap. 2.

881  Plutarchus in Vita Agesilai. The following passage of Quintilian's Institut. Orat. lib. vi. cap. 1. 40, is understood by most commentators, as if the author meant to say that a waxen image of the person deceased, made by pouring the wax into a mould of gypsum, was exhibited. “Et prolata novissime, deformitate ipsa (nam ceris cadaver attulerant infusum) præteritam quoque orationis gratiam perdidit.” See Turnebi Adversar. lib. xxix. cap. 13. But in my opinion it appears very probable that the body itself, covered with wax, was carried into the court.

882  Near Damietta are found a kind of mullets, which, after being covered over with wax, are by these means sent throughout all Turkey, and to different parts of Europe.—Pocock's Travels.

883  Theophilus Raynaudus de incorruptione cadaverum, in vol. xiii. of the works of that learned Jesuit, Lugd. 1665.

884  Beguillet, Déscription du Duché de Bourgogne, i. p. 192.

885  Liber Regalis, in the article De exequiis regalibus.

886  Archæologia, vol. iii. p. 376.

887  Dart's Westminster, ii. p. 28.

888  In the account of the funeral expenses stands the following article: “To Thomas Graham, apothecary to his majesty, for a fine double cerecloth, with a large quantity of very rich perfumed aromatic powders, &c., for embalming his late majesty's royal body, 152 l.” See Archæologia, ut supra , p. 402.

889  Livius, lib. xl. cap. 29. Pliny, b. xiii. chap. 13, relates the same thing, with a little variation, respecting the annals of Cassius Hemina: “Mirabantur alii, quomodo illi libri durare potuissent. Ille ita rationem reddebat; lapidem fuisse quadratum circiter in media area vinctum candelis quoquoversus. In eo lapide insuper libros impositos fuisse, propterea arbitrari eos non computruisse. Et libros citratos fuisse, propterea arbitrarier tineas non tetigisse.”—Hardouin thinks that libri citrati  were books in which folia citri  were placed to preserve them from insects. The first editions however have libri cedrati, and even the paper itself may have been covered over with some resinous substance. The scarce edition which I received as a present from Professor Bause at Moscow, Opus impressum per Joan. Rubeum et Bernardinum Fratresque Vercellenses 1507, fol. has in page 98 the word caedratos, and in the margin caeratos.

890  A catalogue of this collection may be found in the second volume of Valentin's Museum Museorum.

891  Von Stettens Kunstgeschichte von Augsburg, p. 218. 362.

892  With how much care this learned man, who died in 1544, in the twenty-ninth year of his age, collected minerals and plants is proved by his Silva Observationum Variarum, quas inter peregrinandum brevissime notavit. Walch, in his Naturgeschichte der Versteinerungen, considers it as the first general oryctography of Germany, and is surprised that so extensive a work should have been thought of at that period. Wallerius, in his Lucubratio de Systematibus Mineralogicis, Hohniæ, 1768, 8vo, p. 27, considers this Silva as a systematic description of all minerals. Both however are mistaken. Cordus undertook a journey in 1542, through some parts of Germany, and drew up a short catalogue without order, of the natural objects he met with in the course of his travels, which was published by Conrad Gesner, together with the other works of this industrious man, at Strasburg in 1561. This book, which I have in my possession, has in the title page, In hoc volumine continetur Valerii Cordi in Dioscoridis libros de Medica Materia; ejusdem Historiæ Stirpium, &c. The Silva begins page 217.

893  That Agricola had a good collection, may be concluded from his writings, in which he describes minerals according to their external appearance, and mentions the places where they are found.

894  H. Mohsen says in his Account of Mark Brandenburg, Berlin, 1783, 4to, p. 142. Thurneisser is the first person, as far as is known at present, who in this country formed a collection of natural curiosities.

895  “Ortelius habebat domi suæ imagines, statuas, nummos ... conchas ab ipsis Indis et Antipodibus, marmora omnis coloris, spiras testudineas tantæ magnitudinis, ut decem ex iis viri in orbem sedentes cibum sumere possent; alias rursum ita angustas, ut vix magnitudinem capitelli unius aciculi adæquarent.”—M. Adami Vitæ Germ. Philos. Heidelb. 1615, 8vo, p. 431.

896  See Biographia Britannica, vol. iv. p. 2469. [The names of our early English collectors, Tradescant, Ashmole, Petiver, and Sir Hans Sloane, though a little later than the period alluded to, deserve to be recorded here.]

897  This extract may be seen in D. G. Molleri Dissert. de Technophysiotameis, Altorfi, 1704, p. 18. Some account of Quickelberg may be found in Sweertii Athenæ Belgicæ, Antv. 1628, fol. p. 671; in Val. Andreæ Bibliotheca Belgica, Lov. 1643, 4to, p. 806; and in Simleri Bibliotheca Instituta a Gesnero, Tiguri, 1574, fol. p. 617.

898  De Omni Rerum Fossilium Genere, op. Conr. Gesneri. Tig. 1565, 8vo.

899  He says in the preface, “Thesaurum fossilium multis impensis collegi, paucis comparabilem.”

900  This is related by Jacob Fabricius, in the preface to the treatise of his brother George Fabricius De Metallicis Rebus, which may be found in Gesner's collection before-quoted.

901  This catalogue is printed in Œuvres de B. Palissy. Par M. Faujas de Saint-Fond et Gobet. Paris, 1777, 4to, p. 691. [Quite recently a new edition of Palissy's works, together with an account of the life of this remarkable man by M. Cap, has been published at Paris. Palissy, after long devoting his services to the king and some of the royal family, was shut up in the Bastille on account of his religion. It is said that one day Henry III., having visited him in his prison, spoke to him thus: “My good man, you have been for forty-five years in my mother's and my service. We have suffered you to live in your religion amidst fires and massacres: now I am so strongly urged by the Guise party and by my people, that I am constrained  to leave you in the hands of my enemies, and to-morrow you will be burnt if you are not converted.” “Sire,” replied Bernard, “I am ready to lay down my life for the glory of God. You have often told me that you pitied me; and now I pity you, who have uttered these words, ‘I am constrained!' Sire, it is not speaking like a king; and it is what you yourself, those who constrain you, the Guisards, and all your people, could never compel me to; for I know how to die.” Palissy died indeed in the Bastille, but a natural death, in 1589. Thus ended a career illustrious alike for great talents and rare virtues.]

902  Mercati Metallotheca. Romæ, 1717, fol. to which an appendix was added in 1719.

903  Joh. Baptistæ Olivi de reconditis et præcipuis collectaneis a Franc. Calceolario in Museo adservatis testificatio ad Hieron. Mercurialem. Venet. 1584, 4to. An edition was published also at Verona in quarto, in 1593. The complete description was however first printed at Verona in a small folio, in 1622; Musæum Calceolarianum Veronense. Maffei, in his Verona Illustrat. Veron. 1732, fol. p. 202, says, “Calceolari ... fu de' primi, che raccogliendo grandissima quantità d'erbe, piante, minerali, animali diseccati, droghe rare, cose impetrite, ed altre rarità naturali, formasse museo di questo genere.”