|Aromatum et simplicium aliquot medicamentorum apud Indos nascentium historia / de Carlos Clúsio ; versão portuguesa do epítome latino dos Colóquios dos simples, de Garcia de Orta.|
[Introdução e versão portuguesa de Jaime Walter, Manuel Alves].
Latin and Portuguese.
Running titles: Aromatum historia = Historia dos aromas.
"Edição comemorativa do quarto centenário da publicação dos Colóquios dos simples."
Aromatum, et Simplicium aliquot Medicamentorum apud Indos Nascentium Historia... nunc verò primùm Latina facta, & in Epitomen contracta à Carolo Clusio.
By Garcia de Orta (d. 1568).
Facsimile of Latin edition, with original Portuguese (Lisbon, 1964).
Garcia da Orta was a Portuguese physician and naturalist, and a pioneer of early studies in tropical medicine. He wrote the first European account of Indian materia medica and the first textbook on tropical medicine, which included a classic account of cholera.
Da Orta was descended from a family of Spanish Jews who were expelled to Portugal in 1492. Garcia taught at the University of Lisbon until he sailed to India in 1534, fleeing the impending Inquisition. He established a successful medical practice in Goa, and became a personal friend as well as physician to the Sultan Burhān Nizām Shāh of Ahmednagar. In 1560, the Inquisition reached Goa, but Da Orta was not persecuted. However, after his death the church authorities became aware of his family’s Jewish heritage, and his remains were exhumed and burnt in an auto da fé in December 1580.
Da Orta’s work was written in Portuguese but was most often read through the Latin adaptation made by Clusius (1526–1609) not long after the publication of the original. This publication marked a turning point in European understanding of the natural world and revealed to sixteenth-century readers a variety of natural products and medical traditions completely new to them. Equally important was the fact that da Orta had sufficient intellectual courage, coupled with respect for firsthand observation, to contradict the great classical authorities on herbal medicine. "Do not try to frighten me with Dioscorides or Galen," says da Orta, "because I merely speak the truth and say what I know." Da Orta’s work was hugely influential, becoming a major source for both Bontius and Linnaeus.
The chapter on display is on "Bangue," a transcription of the Sanskrit word bhangā (cannabis). He begins with an enquiry about the difference between cannabis and opium. Da Orta’s colloquies are written, often with humor, as working dialogues between Da Orta himself and a stupid sidekick called Ruano (not unlike Galileo’s dialogue with "Simplicio").