Leonhart Fuchs, New Kreüterbuch, Basel 1543 (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Rar. 2037)

Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566) from Wemding (today Donau-Ries district) had held the chair of medicine in Ingolstadt since the spring of 1526. Given that Fuchs was a committed follower of Martin Luther (1483–1546), there were conflicts with the university administration.

In 1528, Fuchs went to the Protestant Ansbach as the personal physician to Margrave George of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1484–1543, margrave 1515–1543). In 1533, he was reappointed professor in Ingolstadt. Due to his Protestant attitudes, however, problems arose in the same year and Fuchs went back to Ansbach. In 1535, he moved to the University of Tübingen, where he taught until his death.

Leonhart Fuchs is considered one of the three “fathers of botany”. In his honour, the botanist Charles Plumier (1646–1704) in 1695 named a plant discovered in South America “Fuchsia”. Fuchs’s main work was the “Kräuterbuch” (Herbal Book), published in 1542 in Latin (“De Historia stirpium”) and in 1543 in a German version (New Kreüterbuch). As a sign of humanism, Fuchs orientated himself above all on the medical and botanical knowledge of Greek antiquity.

The “New Kreüterbuch” contains 517 woodcuts of plants which are sorted alphabetically in accordance with the Greek plant names. In addition to a detailed description of the individual plant and its occurrence, its effect as a medicinal product is also cited. The two draughtsmen of the illustrations and the form cutters are shown on the last page of the book.

To the digitised copy