Monardes and Gerard on Sassafras

In a previous post, I described how Nicolas Monardes’ description of sassafras laid the foundation for future authors to understand the physical and medicinal properties of the sassafras and its leaves, roots, wood, and bark. A side by side comparison of John Frampton’s translation of Monardes’s Joyfull Newes, and the Thomas Johnson’s edition of John Gerard’s The herball or Generall historie of plantes (originally published by Gerard in 1597, edited Johnson edition published in 1633) demonstrates how Monardes’ work served as the cornerstone of knowledge for the English knowledge of sassafras for at least two generations. The following is a description of the “vertues” of the “Sassafras, or Ague tree:”

Monardes and Gerard
Comparission between Monardes and Gerard

Monardes still loudly echoed in the descriptions of sassafras nearly 60 years after he was first published in Spanish, and 35 or so years after he was first “Englished.”

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