‚Wissenschaft‘ zwischen Vorbild, Feld und Federkiel. Der Libro de Agricultura des Gabriel Alonso de Herrera
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In 1513 the Castilian author Gabriel Alonso de Herrera published the editio princeps of his Libro de agricultura, a manual on farming dedicated to the melioration of agricultural practices in contemporary Spain. It was aimed at rich farmers and small landholders and was thus written in the vernacular. Although inspired by, and largely based on, medieval and ancient agronomists, Herrera also added new knowledge when it suited him. Consequently, he did not hesitate to present his book as a pioneering effort. This article investigates Herrera’s sources and the manner in which he used them, ultimately asking what, if anything, was novel about the Libro. It concludes that, while Herrera admittedly produced a compilation of older material, enriched by his own experience as a cultivator, his claim to be a pioneer in this field is not without merit. For the upshot was a new, slightly more ‘scientific’ outlook on agronomy – the first one to be published in early modern times, preceding similar works in other European countries by decades.
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