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n°8— Scholarly entomology

A envoyer avant le 01.10.2022

Even before the invention of the microscope, which was decisive in their case, insects and other arthropods received attention and vigilance in the philosophico-scientific literature, sometimes in a remarkable way. While ancient and medieval medical works reduced them almost to the status of pests, Aristotle examined their modes of generation, their metamorphoses, the diet and social behavior of some of them and tried to understand their anatomical coherence and to limit their disparity. For "in absolutely all animals there is something natural, that is to say, beautiful" (Aristotle, PA 645a22-3). Four centuries later, Pliny in his Natural History, devoted an entire book (11) to them, on the basis of Greek works. The insecta, minutae or vermes, underserved by their size and their apparent uselessness or harmfulness, seem to be a poor world, reduced to a few leading genera, which symbolism regularly "pins down", from the biblical or Homeric epics to the bestiaries and commentaries of the Physiologus tradition. The encyclopedists of the "Golden Age" (1180-1260) seem to have renewed an extensive interest in nature, including insects. They sometimes catalogue and scrutinize them with a new attention. Through both the knowledge and the uses to which they give rise and develop, this issue intends to focus on the humble and the lowly of ancient and medieval fauna.

Contributions for this issue sent to the editorial staff of RursuSpicae will be peer-reviewed.

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