Besler, Basil

, a botanist, who was born in 1561, at Nuremberg, where he carried on the business of an apothecary, and died there in 1629, is entitled to notice chiefly for having published the most beautiful botanical work that had then appeared, the celebrated “Hortus Eystettensis,” Nuremberg, 1613, folio. It contains a description and plates of the greater part of the plants which the bishop of Aichstsedt, John Conrad de Gemmingen, a liberal patron, of the arts, had cultivated in his gardens and orchards on mount St. Willibald, on the top of which is his episcopal seat. This work, executed with uncommon magnificence, at the expence of the bishop, made a new aera in the history both of botany and engraving. It is illustrated by three hundred and sixty- five plates of the atlas folio size, descriptive of one thousand and eighty-six plants, the first, after the “Phytobasanos” of Columna, that were engraved on copper, all botanical engravings being formerly on wood. They are in general well designed, but do not point out the parts of fructification, and are classed only according to the seasons. Basil Besler had the care of this work, and although he was deficient in literature, and was not even | acquainted with Latin, yet his zeal and love of the science enabled him to perform his task with considerable skill. Jerome Besler, his brother, a man of more learning, supplied the synonymy of the plants, and part of the descriptions, and Louis Jungermann, professor at Giessen, was the author of the text. A second edition appeared at Nuremberg in 1640, at the expence of Marquard II. bishop of Aichstaedt, in large folio, but is inferior to the first. Basil Besler also collected a museum of many of the curiosities of the three kingdoms of nature, which he had engraven at his own expence, and published under the title of “Fasciculus rariorum et aspectu digniorum, varii generis quae collegit et suis impensis aeri ad vivum incidi curavit Basilius Besler,” Nuremberg, 1616 1622. In honour of Besler, Plumier named a genus of plants Besleria. 1


Biog. Universelle. - Saxii Onornasticon.