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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0879 • Joseph von Rathgeb to Carl Linnaeus, 28 February 1749 n.s.
Dated ultima die Februarii 1748/49. Sent from Venezia (Italia) to (). Written in Latin.

Viro Nobilissimo Doctissimoque
Carolo Linnaeo,
Archiatro P[erillustri] Reg[is] Sv[eciae], Med[icinae] et Bot[anices] Prof[essori] Ups[aliensi],
S[alutem] P[lurimam]
Josephus, Nobilis a Rathgeb Eques.

Epistola, quam exeunte Januario ad Te, Vir celeberrime, dederam, promisi alia magis comoda occasione me Litteris tuis satisfacturum.[1] Peragere hoc in praesentiarum constituebam. Verum nunc quoque ab humanitate tua veniam petere cogor, si propter alia, quae me circumdant negotia, officium debitum perfunctorie atque festinanter adimpleo. Rogo autem in primis, ne mihi succenseas, quod leviter denuo attingam argumentum praecedentis epistolae tuae, quo amorem tuum erga me summum atque existimationem de me tuam, qualem nunquam mereri potero, testatam voluisti. Satius est praeterire haec omnia silentio et tacitus mecum ipso recolere, quam multa verba desuper effari, quum certum sit, me a tua benevolentia quantumvis maxima, haec ne cogitando quidem expectare debuisse. Gratias igitur me propterea immortales tibi persuadeas, velim, mihique magno est oblectamento, quod amorem etiam erga te meum saltem ex iis, quae consulere tuae queti ausus sum, luculenter intellexeris.

Cetera nunc tuae epistolae persequenti primum mihi se offert. Neque me negare Culices ficarios, id solum dubitavi, atque in eadem adhuc sum opinione, Insecta a PontederaPontedera, Giulio (1688-1757).
Italian. Director of the botanical
garden and professor of botany at Padua.
He rejected Linnaeus’s system. Linnaeus
named a family of Narcissoides,
Pontederia, after him.
pro Culicibus ficariis mihi missa non esse illos ipsos Culices, quos in Caprificis inveniri. Et veterum et recentiorum observationes confirmarunt. Rationes, cur ita sentiam, jam aperui. Litem hanc diriment Culices ficarii, quos ex Sicilia expecto. Ibi neque in alio Italiae loco eosdem observasse Bocconus asserit, non indiligens naturae scrutator. Quae jam fuit sententia CaesalpiniCesalpino, Andrea (1519-1603).
Italian. Botanist, professor of medicine
and botany in Pisa and Rome and
physician of Clement VIII. Best known
for his De plantis libri xvi
(1583).
. Si ego habuero hos Culices, habebis tu quoque. Interea fac, ut intelligam, quae in epistola tua, ubi hujus Insecti meministi, subjungis: Potest foemina fructus producere absente mare, cum fructus pericarpium non sit, sed receptaculum. Ego enim dictis tuis doctissimis erudiri, ubicumque se occasio offert, summopere aveo.

Si habebis solas Cicindelas alis destitutas, fac, ut inquirant Curiosi, quum opinio multorum sit non alatas esse foeminas, utrum in his ipsis etiam mares inveniantur! Nam inveniri credere opportet, quum speciem hanc conservari res ipsa docet. Concedam ego coelum frigidius animalia non mutare. Dubitabam, num eadem causa ultima evolutio detineri possit. Sed verius est naturam producere ubique, quae coelo, sub quo vivunt, sunt accomodata.

Semina, quae misisti, accepi atque pro iisdem gratias habeo. Quorumvis partem etiam pro me servavi, ut sererem ipsemet. Reliquam Florentiam misi, unde pro te procuravi, quae illinc petiisti. Hic adjuncta. Desunt aliqua pauca, sex aut septem, quae habebis hoc anno. Accipe cum his seminibus etiam Catalogum pro anno 1748 ibidem publicatum. Invenies desuper adjunctum alterum libellum parvum, Grisley Viridarium, qui dicitur cura SeguieriiSéguier, Jean François
(1703-1784). French. Antiquarian
and botanist, Nimes. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
denuo impressus.[2] Nihil addidit, quo magis perfectum reddidisset. Editio forsan lucri causa facta, quamvis exiguum sperare inde licet, quum hoc argumento pauci delectentur. Ex seminibus tuis me plane ignorare fateor, quae planta sit Axyris.[3] Tu pro eadem cognoscenda citas systema tuum Naturae, ubi certo hoc nomen non occurrit, nisi inseruisses ultimae Editioni hoc anno praeterito factae, quam AntivariusAntivari, Christopher Theodor von
(1690-1763). Austrian. Imperial
representative in Stockholm from 1711.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
mihi jam misisse scribit, quamvis nondum accepi.[4] Tu interea ne graveris explicare, quid sibi hoc nomen velit!

Ipsemet ego studebo, ut habeas avem Pendulinum spiritu vini asservatam.[5]

De Convolvolu, Pes Tigrinus dicto, MontiusMonti, Guiseppe (1682-1760).
Italian. Professor at Bologna.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
observat ovarium flore quam arctissime clauso involvi. Si autem per vim flos recludatur, ovarii tubam suis circumdatam staminibus nec non apicibus detegi. Haec tantum observari, cum ovarium suae naturalis magnitudinis dimidium assecutum fuerit, etenim augescente ovario florem non accrescere, sed sensim decrescendo exsiccari de calyce clauso, de flore, qui exsiccatur, augescente ovario. Observationem curiosam habeo in planta Alpina, quam primo credideram florem perfecte foemineum producere. Nam ex terra exsilit fructus minimus calyce arcte tectus, sed, quum diligentius inquisiveram, deprehendi, quod magis singulare, sub hoc calyce latere absque petalis duo filamenta sola, quorum Antherae stigma comprimunt, filamenta autem augescente ovario exsiccari. Haec nunquam videntur, nisi calyx in fructu vix nato recludatur. Hoc autem, adhuc magis singulare, ejusdem generis plures aliae species, quas in pratis et alibi habemus, florem monopetalum irregularem cum quinque staminibus solitae sunt producere. Haec omnia alio tempore communicabo. Cogitationem subiit prius examinare, si in aliqua alia planta, cujus florem perfecte foemineum supponimus, similia occurrant.

Postquam Bononia accepero tabulam, quae pertinet ad observationem de Insecto in Vite reperto, habebis etiam observationem ipsammet ex Actis descriptam. Tu repetis de Insecto in alveo Apum reperto, quae observatio in illis ipsis actis non occurrit.

VallisneriiVallisnieri, Antonio
(1661-1730). Italian. Professor of
medicine at Padua in 1700.
Opera mitterem lubentissime, nisi alio tempore scripsisses neminem apud vos linguam Italicam callere. Nam in tria volumina in folio divisa sunt ex integro Italica lingua exarata. Si hoc non obstat, quominus tibi usui esse possint, dic libere! Mittam!

Lubens audio te adhuc hoc mense de Polygala, quae medetur morsui Crotalophori [sic] serpentis, disputaturum.[6] Expecto hanc dissertationem per Tabellarium, uti alia tua similia parva opuscula. Meminisse te etiam velim Tabulam adjungere ad Dissertationem de ficu pertinentem, quam adhuc a me desiderari scripsi, quae majoris voluminis sunt.[7] Recte fieret Holmiae deponi, ubi Antivarium rogavi curam in se susciperet ea mihi mittendi. Sed audio eundem non adeo bona valetudine frui, quod in causa esse potest, quod aliqua jam multo tempore ab eo expectare me opportet.

Laetor te proxima aestate in Scaniam profecturum.[8] Deus te salvum reducat. Sed doleo, quod inde nihil utilitatis nobis extra Sueciam degentibus accedet, quum inveterata sit tua et tuorum consuetudo solummodo patria lingua vestra exarare. Gratias etiam habeo pro iis, quae respondisti super varia mea quaesita. Nihil autem dixisti super iis, quae scripsi de Tribulo aquatico spicam ex aqua proferente. Ne timeas me judicium tuum expetisse, ut jactem publice. Desiderabam, confidenter diceres, num recte sentii [sic]. Ego enim non scripsi, ut HalleriHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
sententiam despicerem, sed tantum, ut veritatem eruerem.

Vellem, colligeres hoc anno mihique mitteres semina quatuor specierum Valantiae, quas in Horto alis. Habemus quidem 1, 2 et 4. Nihilominus earumdem semina etiam a te mihi mitti volo. Habemus etiam illam, quae a BoerhavioBoerhaave, Herman (1668-1738).
Dutch. Professor of medicine, botany and
chemistry at Leiden. One of the most
influential professors of medicine of
the eighteenth century. Linnaeus visited
him during his stay in Holland.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
nominata: Cruciata tomentosa flosculis luteis in Corniculis longis hispidis. Ind. Alt., p. 149.[9] Hanc cum prima saepius satam diligentius examinavi. Utraque producit semina duo nuda. Hinc non immerito a Boerhavio atque etiam prius a DillenioDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
Classi Plantarum stellatarum annumerata. Hoc autem maxime mirandum eundem magnum Dillenium in suppl. Ad Cat. Plant. Giss., p. 147,[10] huic plantae fructum membranosum adscripsisse, quum fructus neque coriaceus neque membranosus neque semen unicum, verum semina duo nuda semper. Observavi etiam in illa Valantia, quae Cruciata muralis minima ColumnaeColonna, Fabio (1567-1650).
Italian. Botanist, painter and engraver.
, aestate magis calida flosculos aliquos mares dicti [sic] pistillum habere atque etiam aliqua semina perfecisse minora reliquis a medio flore productis.

Vale, Vir celeberrime, meque tibi semper commendatum habe, tuoque amore, quem maximi facio, prosequere, certus me contra omni studio adlaboraturum, quo mea in Te, Vir per omnem aetatem colende, singularis observantia atque animus meus tibi ob tot ingentia beneficia devinctissimus comprobetur. Iterumque vale!

Venetiis ultima die Februarii 1748/49.

[a][a] : [added by Rathgeb] Tui observantissimus aeternumque devinctus
Rathgeb[a][a] : [added by Rathgeb]

[a][a] : [added by Rathgeb] Absque dubio videris Laur[entii] HeisteriHeister, Lorenz (1683-1758).
German. Anatomist and surgeon,
considered the father of German surgery.
Professor of anatomy and surgery in
1720, of theoretical medicine and botany
at Helmstädt in 1730. He rejected
Linnaeus’s sexual system. Correspondent
of Linnaeus.
Systema Plantarum Generale ex fructificatione, cui annectuntur regulae ejusdem de nominibus plantarum a Celeb[errimi] Linnaei longe diversae. Helmstadii 1748 8uo.[11]

Heisterum magis chirurgum quam Botanicum considero et aestimo. Condere Systemata cuique facile, posteaquam alii tam multa condidere. In regulis invehitur, quasi ab illis ipsis, quas Tibi ipsimet praefixeras, recesseris. Prommittit [sic] Hortum Helmstadiensem & Semiologiam plantarum, in qua Notas characteristicas generum plantarum Tuis faciliores, manifestiores & certiores plerumque dare decrevit.[12] Videbimus! Multa saepius prommissa [sic] fuere, quae postea non apparuere aut aliter se habuerunt. Iterum Vale![a][a] : [added by Rathgeb]

upSUMMARY

Joseph von Rathgeb thanks Linnaeus for the letter he received at the end of January.

Rathgeb doubts that the Culices ficarii sent to him by Giulio Pontedera are the ones that can be found in the Caprifici. However, Rathgeb will know for sure when he gets some specimens from Sicily, the only place where Silvio-Paolo Boccone observed them. Rathgeb promises to send specimens to Linnaeus, if he receives some.

Rathgeb asks Linnaeus to explain what he meant by writing in his letter: “a female can produce a fruit, when a male is absent, considering the fact that the fruit is not a pericarp but a receptacle”.

Should Linnaeus by any chance have some Cicindelae, Rathgeb wants to know whether there are also some males among them. There should be, because Rathgeb does not believe that a cold climate changes the animals.

Rathgeb is grateful for seeds sent by Linnaeus. Rathgeb sends seeds and a Catalogue published in 1748 together with Gabriel Grisley’s Viridarium Lusitanum, which is said to have been reprinted with the help of Jean François Séguier.

Among Linnaeus’s seeds Rathgeb wonders what Axyris is. Linnaeus has referred Rathgeb to Systema naturae. However, Rathgeb cannot find the plant and wonders if Linnaeus refers to his last edition, which Christopher Theodor von Antivari says he has sent.

Rathgeb will try to send a penduline bird preserved in alcohol.

The ovary of the Convolvulus, called Pes Tigrinus, about which Giuseppe Monti has made some observations, is discussed.

Rathgeb would gladly have sent Antonio Vallisnieri’s works, but Linnaeus has told him that nobody in Sweden can read Italian.

Rathgeb is pleased that Linnaeus’s dissertation on Polygala will be defended in February. Rathgeb would like a copy. He again asks for the missing illustration to Linnaeus’s dissertation De Ficu. Rathgeb is pleased that Linnaeus will go to Scania in the summer. But he is sorry that the results will be published only in Swedish.

Rathgeb assures Linnaeus that he can trust him. He will not publish Linnaeus’s opinions.

Rathgeb would like seeds of four species of Valantia from Uppsala University Botanical Garden.

P.S. Rathgeb assumes that Linnaeus has seen Lorenz Heister’s Systema plantarum generale ex fructificatione.

Rathgeb considers Heister to be more of a surgeon than a botanist. Heister has promised to write a “Hortus Helmstadiensis” and a “Semiologia plantarum”, in which he will state better characteristics of the genera of plants than Linnaeus.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original (LS, XII, 115-116). [1] [2] [3]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
[added by Rathgeb]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Rathgeb to Linnaeus, 31 January 1749 n.s.Letter L0873.
2.
3.
For Axyris see Linnaeus, Species plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Species
plantarum
(Stockholm 1753). Soulsby
no. 480.
, 979.
4.
Linnaeus, Systema naturae .
5.
This bird is probably a Penduline Tit.
6.
Linnaeus wrote no dissertation on Polygala. However, Rathgeb means Linnaeus’s Radix SenegaLinnaeus, Carl Radix
Senega
, diss., resp. J. Kiernander
ad (Stockholm 1749).
, where Polygala is dealt with.
7.
8.
9.
Boerhaave, Index alter plantarum .
These two works were projects never finished.