Libri de piscibus marinis

Guillaume Rondelet, Leiden, 1553-55 (Google Books)

Lister read this comprehensive work of ichthyology  in November 1665 which had a profound effect upon his own research and on that of John Ray.

As Gillian Lewis has stated,

the Libri de piscibus marinis of an earlier Montpellier professor, Guillaume Rondelet, whose Aristotelian/Galenic approach to the study of medicine and living things was distinguished by a quite exceptional level of knowledge about aquatic species, based on a secure grasp of the classical and contemporary literature, but above all on his own observations in rivers, lakes, lagoons and the open sea, and his domestication (and dissection) of marine species in ponds and aquaria at his country house. Rondelet’s book proved useful to Ray and to Lister as a work of reference, as a stimulus for reflection on biological problems, as an aid to nomenclature, as a source of precise descriptions of species, in both words and pictures, as a model to be improved upon in taxonomy, as a warning against reliance on hearsay, and as a valuable account of observations and experiments. 1.

Dr Lewis’ article in full may be read here.

  1. Gillian Lewis, ‘The debt of John Ray and Martin Lister to Guillaume Rondelet of Montpellier’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society 66, 4 (20 December 2012), 323-339

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