Theophrastus by Sir Alfred Catesby-Grey
Theophrastus lived from about 371 (born at Eresos) to 286 BC and was a student of Plato and Aristotle. He inherited Aristotle's collections, unfinished works and his library.

At the Lyceum he was in charge of the first ever botanical garden and wrote two important books on botany - 'De Historia Plantarum' and 'De Causis Plantarum'. These books were kept alive largely thanks to the efforts of Pope Nicholas V, an avid collector of such works, who had these early texts translated into Latin in the mid fifteenth century by T. Gaza.

Much of Theophrastus' wide knowledge came in the form of samples sent to him by the botanists on campaign with Alexander the Great, and the textbooks that are his legacy were for hundreds of years the best works available on horticulture, giving rise to Theophrastus being known as the 'Father of Botany'. Theophrastus also wrote a treatise on climate, which has long been lost to the outside world, but which still exists in a Persian translation hidden away in a north Indian library. His Greek followers were Nicandros of Colophon, Cratevas and Dioscorides.

Read about the lost notebook of Theophrastus...

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