Gesner, Konrad von

Gesner, Konrad von kônˈrät fən gĕsˈnər [key], 1516–65, Swiss scientist and bibliographer. Gesner was noted for his scholarship and erudition in almost every field of knowledge. He lived in Zürich and other European cities, teaching physics and natural history and practicing medicine and surgery. Among his works was a dictionary of plants, Historia plantarum, written in 1541; most of his botanical writings were collected and published (2 vol., 1751–71) as the Opera botanica. He is most important as a reviver of the classical school of zoological description that culminated in the work of Linnaeus. Gesner's beautifully illustrated compendium Historia animalium (5 vol., 1551–58, 1587) influenced both biology and the arts and is considered the foundation of zoology as a science. The genus Gesneria is named after him. His other works include Mithridates (1555), a philological study of 130 languages, and Bibliotheca universalis (4 vol., 1545–49), an index in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew of writings in all languages.

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