Illustration of a hydra, from Conrad Gessner’s “Historia Animalium,” circa 1551

From Wikipedia: “Gessner was a medical doctor and professor at the Carolinum in Zürich, the precursor of the University of Zurich.  The “Historia Animalium” is the first modern zoological work that attempts to describe all the animals known, and the first bibliography of natural history writings.  The five volumes of natural history of animals cover more than 4500 pages …

“There was extreme religious tension at the time Historia Animalium came out.  Under Pope Paul IV it was felt that the religious convictions of an author contaminated all his writings, and as Gessner was a Protestant, it was added to the Catholic Church’s list of prohibited books.”

 

Hydra_04

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