A Renaissance English version of the Georgics

A botanical illustration of Aster Atticus from John Martyn's edition of the Georgics. Acc# 214.13.10, James Logie Memorial Collection.

The Logie Collection's copy of the Georgics was translated by John Martyn and published in 1746. Rebound by Professor Kidd himself, this is an extremely well-preserved book. This edition of the Georgics is particularly thorough, with a comprehensive commentary of the original Latin on every page as well as an extensive index.

The commentary gives an explanation of the root meanings of certain words, and the connotations that they hold. It also makes reference to specific lines of poetry, both Latin and Greek, from which Virgil sourced some of his information, indicating their similarities and differences.

John Martyn (1699-1768) was an English botanist, best known for his work Historia Plantarum Rariorum (1728–1737), and his translation of the Georgics of Virgil. As a well-educated man in both medical and botanical studies, Martyn began life as the humble son of a merchant. In 1732 he was appointed Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, but soon ceased lecturing due to a lack of support and equipment. Nonetheless, he remained a professor at Cambridge until 1768.

This edition of the Georgics is impressive in that the author pays respects to King George II for allowing the use of his Latin manuscripts in the making of this book. Martyn's enthusiasm for Botany is clear in the commentary of this edition of the Georgics. This copy contains many valuable agricultural and botanical notes, as well as several detailed hand-drawn images of the plants and flowers mentioned in the book.

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