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A: Augsburg-Innenstadt, Augsburg, Bayern, Germany

Konrad von Megenberg's "Buch der Natur", the First Illustrated Printed Book on Natural History


The first edition of Konrad von Megenberg's 'Buch der Natur' was both the first German natural history and the first woodcut-illustrated natural history, including this woodcut from the chapter on zoology. (View Larger)

On October 30, 1475 printer Johann Bämler of Augsburg issued the first printed edition of Konrad von Megenberg's Buch der Natur. This was the first natural history written in German, and the series of woodcuts in the first edition were the first natural history book illustrations. There were also two woodcuts of plants—the first botanical woodcuts in a printed book.

"The work has 8 chapters

" * the nature of man

" * sky, 7 planets, astronomy and meteorology

" * zoology

" * ordinary and aromatic trees

" * plants and vegetables

" * invaluable and semi-precious stones

" * 10 kinds of metals

" * water and rivers" (Wikipedia article on Konrad of Megenburg, accessed 06-13-2009).

ISTC no. ic00842000. In November 2013 a digital facsimile of an illustrated fifteenth century manuscript of von Megenberg's work, Cod. Pal. germ. 300 Konrad von Megenberg Das Buch der Natur Hagenau - Werkstatt Diebold Lauber, um 1442-1448?, was available from Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg at this link.

Blunt & Raphael, The Illustrated Herbal (1979) 112-13.

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