Von Megenberg, Konrad 1309-1374
Von Megenberg has been called a "Northern successor of Albertus Magnus." He translated an original manuscript of a Thomas of Cantimpre who lived in Belgium in the 13th Century. The manuscript of Thomas was called De natura rerum and Von Megenberg's translation first printed about 1475 was called Das Buch (Puch) der Natur. It contained the earliest printed natural history illustrations. The woodcuts depicting plants were utilized to illustrate the text and not merely for decoration. It served as a model for other illustrated books and passed through six editions before 1500. It had a wide circulation and presumably was one of the "best sellers" of the period. The original illustrated editions of Das Buch der Natur are very rare and exceedingly expensive.
Among the important herbals printed during the 15th Century may be listed as follows:
Herbarium of Apuleius - Published in Rome in 1481 or 1483.
Herbarius Latinus - 1st herbal printed in Germany. Author is anonymous. It was a compilation of medieval and classical writers and was intended for the poor people. The herbal listed cheap and simple remedies of plants found in the field and forest. The text was in latin but names of plants were given in German and in Latin.
Gart der Gesundheit - 400 illustrations, published in 1485. This herbal was a compilation worked out by the printer. The text was partly based on Herbarius Latinus but the figures were printed from new and more accurate cuts.
Many herbals appeared during the next quarter century in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. All were compilations and frequently were merely translations of other herbals. Wood cuts were often sold from one printer to another.