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Du végétatif au végétal, l’essor de l’intérêt pour la plante à la fin du Moyen Age

Abstract : Plant study at the end of the Middle Ages doesn’t operate as an independent unit. It belongs rather to a philosophical approach which consists of placing plants on the scale of the Creation, or confining them to a useful function related to medicine or food. Thirteenth century encyclopaedias or Albert the Great’s De Vegetabilibus reveal the multiple interests in flora whereby plants are considered both for their vegetating state and for the benefits to be gained from them. While not a subject in their own right, plants trigger thoughts which help us to better understand them. In herbaria, the study of different plant species aims at mastering their properties. Thus the need to identify the plants described in such classifications leads to an improvement in our knowledge of plant specimens. Furthermore, dictionaries of synonyms, agronomy manuals, apothecaries’ treatise or encyclopaedia revisiting Aristotle’s Problems, all bear witness to a certain specialisation in the field of plant study. Perceiving plant life in a global context becomes less common. A declining interest in contemplating plants as a vegetating species, shifts to considering each plant with its specific characteristics. The same observation can be made in plant iconography with the images of plants becoming increasingly realistic. While they never cross paths, these multiple approaches to the plant world contribute to the rise in botany with the plant being examined from different angles affording a rich composite perception.
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Ariane Rabatel. Du végétatif au végétal, l’essor de l’intérêt pour la plante à la fin du Moyen Age. Histoire. École pratique des hautes études - EPHE PARIS, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016EPHE4077⟩. ⟨tel-02105170⟩

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