Home > History of Wine > A Vulture Eating a Carcass and Images of Grapevines in Tractatus de Herbis (c. 1440)

A Vulture Eating a Carcass and Images of Grapevines in Tractatus de Herbis (c. 1440)


Miniatures of vines with grapes. Sloane 4016. f. 101. British Library

Miniatures of vines with grapes. Sloane 4016. f. 101. British Library

Tractatus de Herbis is a 15th century herbal that was made in Lombardy, Italy.  Herbals typically combine pictures to aid in plant identification and text describing the virtues of each plant.  This particular herbal is simpler, presenting pictures of plants along with names in several languages.  According to the post on The Public Domain Review, which cites Minta Colins, this copy was created for a wealthy book collector rather than a physician.  This copy contains two pages with grape vines.  The first page has illustrations of three vines: vitis comunis (the common vine), vitis agrestis (the wild vine), vitis nigra (the black vine).  I do not think the grape leaves nor the clusters would help anyone identify a vine!  The clusters do appear to show uneven ripening.  The second image is fantastic with its walled garden, man fishing in a stream, wolf, and a vulture eating a dead animal… oh yes, and the vine uva uirrois (sp?).

Miniature of plants, a walled garden, a wolf, a man fishing in a stream with a net, and a vulture pecking a carcass of an animal. Sloane 4016.  f. 108v. British Library.

Miniature of plants, a walled garden, a wolf, a man fishing in a stream with a net, and a vulture pecking a carcass of an animal. Sloane 4016. f. 108v. British Library.


[1] Tractatus de Herbis. Italy, N. (Lombary). c. 1440. Sloane 4016.  British Library. URL: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=7796&CollID=9&NStart=4016

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