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Link: • Fredrik Hasselquist to Carl Linnaeus, 18 May 1750 n.s.
Dated 18 Maj 1750. Sent from Alexandria (Egypt) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.


On May 13 Fredrik HasselquistHasselquist, Fredrik
(1722-1752). Swedish. Physician and
naturalist, explorer. Studied under
Linnaeus and Lars Roberg 1741-1749. Went
to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus,
Rhodes and the island of Chios. Died
near Smyrna. Son of Magnus and Helena
Maria Hasselquist, brother of Andreas
Hasselquist. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
reached Alexandria after five months staying in ”Natolien” [Anatolia=Asia minor].

The first thing he studied was the date palm. An Arab showed him the male and female flowers of these trees, and how they are made fruitful.

Hasselquist describes this in detail (a.-d.).

Other plants that he has studied are: Mimosa (Acac. Aeg.)[Mimosa Lebbek L.], Vitex (agnus castus), Ricinus (palam Christi), Mesembryanth (ex quo symbol Kali) [Mesembryanthemum copticum L.], and some species of Chenopodia. Alexandria is a miserable place where the riches of Egypt, Arabia, and Aethiopia are loaded. He wants to see Rosetta, ”the garden” of Egypt, and the Nile. In Cairo he will try to get some fragments of Ethiopian and Arabic natural history, e.g. Opobalsamum and Myrrh. He intends to go to Palestine this autumn and stay there until next spring. [Most of the observations Hasselquist made were later published in his Iter Palaestinum eller resa til heliga landetHasselquist, Fredrik Iter
Palaestinum eller resa til heliga
(Stockholm 1757).

He would like to know if there are things that Olof CelsiusCelsius, Olof (1670-1756).
Swedish. Orientalist and theologian,
professor at Uppsala. Botanist and plant
collector, benefactor of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
wants him to concentrate on.

Linnaeus can ask Celsius if he knows what ”the tree of the righteous” in the Book of Psalms refers to. Hasselquist believes it must be a Nerium (Rhododaphne Auct.).

In Sweden many learned men cannot believe that John the Bapist could have eaten locusts, as it says in the Bible, and try other explanations. However, the Bible tells the truth; in Egypt, Arabia, and Syria locusts are a natural dish.

Hasselquist encloses an insect, Libellula [Ephemera Coa], found on the island of Meteline. He has never seen this kind of species in Sweden and does not know, if it can be found there, in that case it would be unnecessary to send it such a long way. [In the left margain Linnaeus has added the following remark: This insect was taken out [from the envelope] of some unworthy soul [person], fol. 333r, folio page 7].

He reports an enormous plane tree on the island of Stanchio [Cos], the birth-place of HippocratesHippocrates, (460 BC - ca.370
BC). Greek. Physician, generally
referred to as the Western Father of
, one of the biggest, oldest and strangest creatures in the realm of nature. [At the bottom of the folio page Linnaeus has added a note on the dimensions, fol. 333r, folio page 7].

He has left all his collections and annotations in Smyrna with Anders RydeliusRydelius, Anders Swedish.
Swedish consul at Smyrna, where he met
Fredrik Hasselquist. Correspondent of
. He will make clean copies of some manuscripts and send them to Linnaeus, when time permits. He is alone, if he had had at least someone who could help him to write, he could have worked twice as much.

In Smyrna Hasselquist received a letter from Edvard CarlesonCarleson, Edvard (1704-1767).
Swedish. Public official. President of
the Swedish Board of Commerce.
Accompanied Carl Fredric von Höpken
on his voyage to the Orient. Father of
Adolf Ludvig Carleson. Correspondent of
, who promised him that money was on its way.

In Palestine and Smyrna he will need more money. Rydelius has promised to arrange this for him.

A Swedish captain, Olof ZeniusZenius, Olof Swedish. Captain.
, will take this letter to Livorno. He is from Falun and a relative of Mrs Linnaeus’s [Sara Elisabet MoraeaMoraea, Sara Elisabet
(1716-1806). Swedish. Linnaeus’s wife.
Daughter of Johan Moraeus and Elisabet
Hansdotter Moraea. Mother of Carl
Linnaeus the Younger and of Elisabeth
Christina, Louisa, Sara Christina and
Sophia Linnaea.
], family. He has sailed to the Levantine and Egyptian ports for four years and sends his warmest regards, at the same time as he askis of Linnaeus to tell his family [in Sweden] that he is well.


a. (LS, VI, 329-334). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]