Systema Naturae


Systema Naturae

[Vienna]: Ioan- nis Thomae, 1770


Linnaeusʼ work not only consolidated earlier developments in systematic botany, it also defined its future tasks. The search for new species and genera, their naming and sys- tematic placement, became the main aim of botany, to the relative neglect of plant anat- omy and physiology... In the Systema naturae Linnaeus wrote that ʻthe first step in wis- dom is to know the things themselves; this notion consists in having a true idea of the objects; objects are distinguished and known by classifying them methodically and giv- ing them names. Therefore, classification and name-giving will be the foundation of our science.ʼ - Tore Frängsmyr and J. L. Heilbron, The Quantifying Spirit in the 18th Century

Systema Naturae was first published in 1735. It contains Linnaeusʼ hierarchical classifi- cation of the natural world, dividing it into the animal kingdom (Regnum animale), the plant kingdom (Regnum vegetabile) and the "mineral kingdom" (Regnum lappideum). The general classification contained 4 levels: Classes, orders, genera and species. Linnaeus kept publishing new editions, which grew from eleven pages in the first edition (1735) to three thousand pages in the final and thirteenth edition (1770, this one). (Printing and the Mind of Man, Milestones of Science, Heralds of Science).

Three volumes (bound in four). Octavo. Later period style calf, spines elaborately gilt. Generally clean throughout; occasional marginal staining in vol. III. A handsome set.

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