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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE FRUIT NUT AND SPECIALTY CROP GENETIC RESOURCES

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository (Corvallis, Oregon)

Title: The 1500th anniversary (512-2012) of the Juliana Anicia codex: an illustrated discoridean

Authors
item Janick, Jules -
item Hummer, Kim

Submitted to: Chronica Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 5, 2012
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Citation: Janick, J., Hummer, K.E. 2012. The 1500th anniversary (512-2012) of the Juliana Anicia codex: an illustrated discoridean. Chronica Horticulturae. 52(3):9-15.

Interpretive Summary: The Greek herbal of Dioskorides (On Medical Matters) was written about the year 65. It was destined to be one of the most famous books on pharmacology and medicine but is also rich in horticulture and plant ecology. The oldest surviving and most famous recension of this famous work, completed in Constantinople about 512, is a Greek version in an alphabetical arrangement that was prepared and presented to the imperial Princess Juliana Anicia (462-527), daughter of the Anicius Olybrius, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The bound manuscript stored in Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna is available in facsimile and is now referred to as the Juliana Anicia Codex (JAC) or the Codex Vindobonensis. The JAC contains 383 paintings of plants including many horticultural crops. An analysis of the illustrations indicates that they were made by numerous artists of varying skills and it is probably that some were derived from earlier lost versions. A comparison of illustrations with modern photographs indicates surprising similarities with contemporary plants.

Technical Abstract: The Greek herbal of Pedanios Dioskurides On Medical Matters was written about the year 65. It was destined to be one of the most famous books on pharmacology and medicine but is also rich in horticulture and plant ecology. The oldest surviving and most famous recension of this famous work, completed in Constantinople about 512, is a Greek version in an alphabetical arrangement that was prepared and presented to the imperial Princess Juliana Anicia (462-527), daughter of the Anicius Olybrius, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The bound manuscript stored in Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna is available in facsimile and is now referred to as the Juliana Anicia Codex (JAC) or the Codex Vindobonensis. The JAC contains 383 paintings of plants including many horticultural crops. An analysis of the illustrations indicates that they were made by numerous artists of varying skills and it is probably that some were derived from earlier lost versions. A comparison of illustrations with modern photographs indicates surprising similarities with contemporary plants.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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