1st Edition

Toward an Intercultural Natural History of Brazil The Historia Naturalis Brasiliae Reconsidered

Edited By Mariana Françozo Copyright 2023
    234 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume presents the first extensive census of the surviving copies of the treatise Historia Naturalis Brasiliae in libraries worldwide and examines the book from a variety of interdisciplinary viewpoints.

    The chapters in this volume are written by scholars from different fields of knowledge, including anthropology, botany, linguistics, literature, book history, medieval and early modern history, and art history. The chapters contextualize the treatise vis-à-vis its predecessors and contemporaneous works of natural history and examine its botanical, zoological, and linguistic accuracy and usefulness in the present day. Put together, the seven chapters of this volume present a kaleidoscope of possibilities of how to re-interpret Piso and Marcgraf’s work within the dynamic context of knowledge-production about the ‘New’ World in the early modern era, while also suggesting approaches to continue profiting from its subject matter in the present day.

    Toward an Intercultural Natural History of Brazil offers essential reading on the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae, natural history and Latin American history.


    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    1. Locating Knowledge in Early Modern Brazil and India: A Comparative Study of Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648) and Hortus Malabaricus (1678-1693)

    Anjana Singh and Mariana Françozo

    2. Portuguese Parallels: Comparing Analogous Efforts toward Codifying Indigenous Medicinal Knowledge in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Brazil

    Timothy D. Walker

    3. Cover to Cover: A Book Historical Approach to the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae

    Alex Alsemgeest and Jeroen Bos

    4. Searching for Copaiba: Tracing the Quest for a Wound-Healing Oil by Early Explorers in Brazil

    Tinde van Andel, Mariana Françozo, and Mireia Alcantara Rodriguez

    5. An Imaginary Brazilian Zoo: Traditions and Innovations in the Portrayal of Animals in the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae

    Annemarieke Willemsen

    6. Marcgraf’s Fish in the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae and the Rhetorics of Autoptic Testimony

    Paul J. Smith

    7. Reconnecting Knowledges: Historia Naturalis Brasiliae back to Indigenous Societies

    Aline da Cruz and Walkíria Neiva Praça


    Mariana Françozo is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, The Netherlands. Her research stands at the intersection of anthropology and history and focuses on the collection and circulation of Indigenous objects and knowledge from Brazil to Europe, with special emphasis on the early modern period.