Some reflections on the precious stones in Simple Conversations by Garcia de Orta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Somewhere in the city of Goa, on the west coast of India, on an unspecified day in the middle of the sixteenth century, two Europeans are involved in a learned conversation about elephants and ivory. One of them is Garcia de Orta, the other is Ruano, both are physicians trained at the same Spanish universities. The lively discussion is interrupted by the arrival of a Milanese lapidary, who wishes to speak to Orta, concerning the sale of some precious stones. This curious episode, one of the many that can be found in the pages of the Coloquios dos simples e drogas medicinais da India, published in Goa in 1563, raises several interesting questions, which will be dealt with in the present text, and namely: the large network of informers that Orta brings into play throughout his learned colloquies; the methodology he uses to build a veritable encyclopedia of Asian natural history; the discreet but persistent involvement of the Portuguese naturalist in matters of merchandise; and also his attitude towards precious stones and the so-called lapidary medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationColloquium on Dioscorides and the Portuguese Humanism - The Commentaries of Amato Lusitano
Place of PublicationAveiro
PublisherUniversidade de Coimbra
Pages37-62
ISBN (Print)978-989-26-0941-6, 978-989-26-0940-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventColloquium on Dioscorides and the Portuguese Humanism: The Commentaries of Amato Lusitano - Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Duration: 21 Nov 201322 Nov 2013

Publication series

NameHUMANISMO E CIENCIA: ANTIGUIDADE E RENASCIMENTO
PublisherUniversidade de Coimbra

Conference

ConferenceColloquium on Dioscorides and the Portuguese Humanism
CountryPortugal
CityAveiro
Period21/11/1322/11/13

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